Tag Archives: 3D-Printed Car

The first road-ready 3D-printed vehicle will be here soon

Local Motors has introduced what will become the first drivable, 3D-printed car you can buy: the LM3D Swim.

Less than four months after revealing designs for the next-generation 3D-printed car, Local Motors has unveiled the LM3D Swim — their latest rapid vehicle iteration that’ll become the first fully-homologated, 3D-printed automobile to hit the streets.

LM 3D swim

Earlier this year, the Phoenix-based company held a contest that encouraged people to come up with designs for the first road-ready 3D-printed car. Auto enthusiast Kevin Lo was the brainchild of the winning submission, LM3D, which had been selected among 200 other entries.

Local Motors opened the eyes of the automotive industry when it stole the SEMA spotlight back in 2014 by live-printing the world’s first 3D-printed car. Carrying that momentum, the team has now entered the intensive testing and development phases that will culminate with a highway-ready, fully-homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing, of which 3D printing will play an integral role.

fenders being printed

Roughly 75% of the LM3D will be printed, including the body panels and chassis. However, Local Motors is hoping to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D-printed piece as possible, eventually making about 90% of the car using 3D printing. Making it even more impressive, migrating from design to prototype was accomplished at unprecedented speed. The process took just over two months, start to finish.

“In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today,” Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the crowd at SEMA. “We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.”

Software from Siemens enabled the Local Motors team to move quickly from concept to car with the simplicity of direct modeling and flexibility of synchronous technology. Meanwhile, materials used to build the body of LM3D Swim came from thermoplastic material solutions provider SABIC.

LM 3D swim4

Cutting-edge technology will be integrated into all models in the LM3D series. Local Motors recently partnered with IBM to create interactions between the microfactory, 3D-printed vehicles, their drivers and the outside environment in ways never achieved before. These technologies will result in increased safety and efficiency in traffic. Local Motors also plans to utilize several leading IoT companies to develop and launch a series of apps and vehicle products to connect, monitor and optimize the driving experience.

Want a 3D-printed vehicle of your own? You won’t have to wait too long. Local Motors plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while it conducts federal crash testing and receives the necessary highway certifications. Those wishing to buy one will have to be ready to shell out roughly $53,000. The first batch of vehicles won’t be delivered, though, until 2017.

Check out the world’s first 3D-printed supercar

What can you make with a 3D printer, some aluminum powder and carbon fiber tubing? If you’re Kevin Czinger, a brand new sports car with a 3D-printed chassis.

During the O’Reilly Solid Conference, Divergent Microfactories unveiled a disruptive new approach to auto manufacturing that incorporates 3D printing to dramatically reduce the pollution, materials and capital costs associated with building automobiles and other large complex structures. Highlighted by Blade, the first prototype supercar based on this new technology, Czinger introduced the company’s plan to dematerialize and democratize car manufacturing.


Aside from its sleek and sexy exterior, Blade can go from 0-60mph in just two seconds, and at 1,400-pounds weighs 90% less than conventional cars. Equipped with a 700-horsepower bi-fuel engine that can run on either compressed natural gas or gasoline, Divergent Microfactories plans to sell a limited number of the high-performance, two-seater vehicles that will be manufactured in its own microfactory. The automobile is capable of traveling up to 100 miles on CNG, while 350 miles on regular gasoline.

The company’s revolutionary technology centers around a proprietary, modular solution called a Node — a 3D-printed aluminum joint that connects pieces of carbon fiber tubing to make up the car’s chassis. In others, think of it like a LEGO kit for vehicles. While it may not be the first 3D-printed automobile in recent months, Blade’s unique combination of 3D printing and assembly is certainly something else. The Node solves the problem of time and space by cutting down on the actual amount of 3D printing required to build the chassis and can be fabricated in a matter of minutes. What’s more, the prototype is also one of the greenest and most powerful cars in the world.

“We’ve found a way to make automobiles that holds the promise of radically reducing the resource use and pollution generated by manufacturing. It also holds the promise of making large-scale car manufacturing affordable for small teams of innovators. And as Blade proves, we’ve done it without sacrificing style or substance. We’ve developed a sustainable path forward for the car industry that we believe will result in a renaissance in car manufacturing, with innovative, eco-friendly cars like Blade being designed and built in microfactories around the world,” Czinger adds.

Aside from showing off its prototype, Divergent Microfactories has shared plans to democratize auto manufacturing. The goal is to put the platform in the hands of small entrepreneurial teams around the world, allowing them to set up their own microfactories and build their own cars and, eventually, other large complex structures. These microfactories will make innovation affordable while reducing the health and environmental impacts of traditional manufacturing.

China’s first 3D-printed car hits the road

A Chinese company has just completed a 3D-printed car for $1,770.

Hot off the heels of Local Motors, Sanya Sihai has created China’s first 3D-printed car: a bright orange electric-powered sedan. If you recall, the Chinese company previously developed the world’s first fully-functional boat last August, a two-meter long vessel capable of accommodating two passengers.


The road-ready vehicle took a month and a half to complete, with the printing portion of the process requiring just five days — which is more than twice as long as the Strati’s 44-hour fabrication time. In total, the team says it only cost $1,770 to manufacture.


The frame of the rechargeable battery-powered two-seater was printed using a composite material, then combined with traditionally manufactured components. Its distinctive color is the result of the Tyrant Gold filament used to construct the car’s body. Weighing approximately 500kg when all was said and done, the electric Shuya is capable of reaching speeds up to 24mph.

Intrigued? Watch the car as it hits the streets of the Hainan province in southern China.

Students in Singapore just 3D-printed a pair of solar electric cars

Students from the Nanyang Technological University have unveiled Singapore’s first solar electric car with a 3D-printed frame.

Young Makers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have made history by building a pair of 3D-printed solar electric cars, a first of their kind in Singapore. These efforts follow in the footsteps of the latest advancements by companies like Local Motors in offering a glimpse into the future of auto manufacturing.


The first car — referred to as NTU Venture 8 (NV 8) — is comprised of 150 parts that were 3D-printed using lightweight ABS plastic in order to maximize space inside the vehicle and to make the driver more comfortable while handling it. The body, internal trim and other components were then mounted on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. According to the team, printing and assembling the shell took approximately three months to complete.

The NV 8 is described as an urban concept car that can reportedly achieve a top speed of about 37 mph, and is set to hit the track at Shell’s Eco-marathon Asia later this month. There, it will compete alongside NTU’s other prototype, NV 9. This model is a slick three-wheeled racer capable of handling sharp corners with its motorcycle-like tilting abilities.


The eco-car prototypes incorporate handmade silicon solar cells along their curved surfaces, and have been designed to be fuel-efficient. In fact, the team claims each vehicle gets an estimated mileage of 264 miles per kWh of electrical energy. The NV 8 weighs 265-pounds without a driver, and embodies an attention-grabbing design with vertical opening doors; whereas, the NV 9 weighs a mere 93-pounds without a driver.

The NV 8 will compete in the “Urban Concept” category at Shell’s Eco-marathon Asia that takes place in Manila from February 26–March 1, while the NV 9 will partake as a “Prototype.” For the Urban Concept category, teams must enter more “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles, while for the “Prototype” category, teams are encouraged to submit futuristic prototypes focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements. NTU had partnered with Stratasys and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) to bring the project to life.

Interested in learning more? Read the official announcement here.

Print my ride! Your next car will be 3D-printed in less than two days

History was made when the world’s first 3D-printed car drove out of Chicago’s McCormick Place during the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show back in September. The vehicle components took 44 hours to print, and after a swift assembly, the vehicle named “Strati” headed off the showroom floor.


The brainchild of Local Motors, Stratri was produced in one piece using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), the first time this method has been used to make a car. Obviously, mechanical components like batteries, motor and wiring were still come from third party sources; while the seats, body, chassis, dash, center console, and hood were all 3D-printed. And not only will Strati be the world’s first 3D-printed car, it’ll also be the first car that you can download and print yourself. Sorry, car salespeople!

“This brand-new process disrupts the manufacturing status quo, changes the consumer experience, and proves that a car can be born in an entirely different way,” explained John B. Rogers, Jr., CEO of Local Motors.

The technology behind the Strati was pioneered at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Local Motors is hoping the Strati proves the viability of using sustainable, digital manufacturing solutions in the automotive industry, and plans to launch production-level 3D-printed cars that will be available to the general public for purchase in the months following the show.


“This project represents the unique opportunity DOE’s National Laboratory System offers to the industry, to collaborate in an open environment to deliver fast, innovative, manufacturing solutions. These partnerships are pushing the envelope on emerging technologies, such as large scale additive manufacturing, and accelerating the growth of manufacturing in the United States,” revealed Craig Blue, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Program and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.

In 2010, 3D printing company Stratasys and engineering firm Kor Ecologic unveiled the Urbee at the 2010 SEMA car show in Las Vegas. The Urbee featured a 3D-printed shell mounted on a more traditional metal chassis.


Rather the print dozens of smaller sub-assemblies and screwing, gluing or bolting them together, the concept car features a main body structure built up as a single module using a BAAM Machine (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) with a deposition rate of 40 pounds per hour.

The Strati is printed by stacking down layer after layer (212 layers in total) of a combination of filament comprised of 80% ABS plastic and 20% carbon fiber reinforcement. The three-axis printer then melts these materials and forms them to the vehicle’s mold.

AMT’s Vice President of Exhibitions and Communications Peter Eelman claims, “This feature returned IMTS to its roots as a forum where the latest technologies are first seen. This year is no exception, and we are confident that this will be the most exciting ETC effort yet.” It is hard to argue with that! Imagine two decades from now simply clicking ‘print’ on your home manufacturing machine and having a new set of wheels assembled in front of your eyes!

Rogers believes Local Motors could start manufacturing vehicles by 2015, with initial use on city streets, before getting approval for highway use down the road. The initial retail cost for a vehicle will start around $17,100 and go upwards of $30,000.

The engine consists of a 12-kW electric motor powered by a 6.1-kwh battery. With roughly 3.5-hour charge, a driver can expect a 62-mile range. Sorry speed demons, but the top speed of the Strati is 40mph.

“Because you can literally print the car any way you want, if your family goes from two people to three–with a child, you trade in and recycle the center part of your car and all the components that outfit the family. Whatever you can imagine is what this process can entail,” said Rogers.

Now, less than two months after both the International Manufacturing Technology Show and World Maker Faire, the team behind the first 3D-printed car is presenting at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. There, they will yet again construct a Strati car before a live audience; however, this time it’ll be printed and assembled in its entirety two full days faster than the original.

Just announced, Local motors will be also be giving away 12 3D-printed vehicles to car nodders as part of their new ‘pimp’ the car ‘ModMen’ Challenge. The contest opens for entries in late January 2015, with the dozen winning design proposals to be announced in March and delivery of the 3D-printed cars to winning teams beginning in May.

“From racing, to street, to show, car modification has always been the true soul of vehicle innovation,” Rogers added. “At Local Motors, our goal is to fuel the next great generation of ‘Hot Rodders’ by putting the newest technology in their hands, and the ModMen Challenge does exactly that. These are not just 12 cars customized with aftermarket parts, but a peek into the future of automotive re-imagination. I cannot wait to see how this group pushes the boundary of 3D-printed cars.”


Now you can 3D print your own (mini) car

Earlier this month, the crew over at Local Motors made history by successfully building (and driving) the world’s first 3D-printed car all within a 44-hour window at the International Manufacturing Technology Show. The highly-popular vehicle even made its way to the World Maker Faire, where AVR Man himself had the chance to scope out the new set of wheels.


The technology behind the Strati was pioneered at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The vehicle was produced all in one piece using direct digital manufacturing (DDM); however, the mechanical components such as batteries, motor and wiring were still needed from third party sources.

In total, it took 44 hours to print the drivable project’s 49 parts from the massive 3D printer. During the IMT show, the Local Motors team assembled the printed pieces, dropped in the engine and bolted on wheels, tires, seats, windshield, and interior. (For those wondering, your average car consists of anywhere between 5,000 to 6,000 parts.)

Local Motors is hoping the Strati will continue to demonstrate the viability of using sustainable, digital manufacturing solutions in the automotive industry, and plans to launch production-level 3D-printed cars that will be available to the general public for purchase in the forthcoming months.

Until then, the company has unveiled the next best thing. In true open source fashion, Local Motors has released the downloadable file so that any Maker can now print an accurate 1:10 scale model of the Strati in the comfort of their own home — wheels, steering shaft, suspension, pedal box and all.


Local Motors has requested that those who 3D print the miniature Strati model share an image of the final product with them.