Local Motors, a startup company located in Arizona, is joining the auto industry in 2016. As a start, the company has revealed the design of the world’s first 3D printed car on Tuesday.
The 3D printed car, known as ReLoad Redacted car, was designed by Mechanical Engineer Kevin Lo and features modifiable and trans-portable parts to suit the customers’ needs and tastes. The company conducted a “design a road-ready vehicle contest” for the 3D printing community earlier this year. Lo’s design was selected from a total of 60 entries by a panel of judges that includes the company’s design community and Jay Leno, former show host of Tonight. Lo won a cash prize amounting to $7,500.
The 3D printed car design is taken on a skateboard-style chassis, showing a regular beach buggy car look. The motor, suspension, batteries and steering components are contained in the chassis of the car with a removable front, rear, roof panels and external speakers. This enables the car to switch between a road car and beach buggy.
Local Motors plans to produce two models of the 3D printed car, namely the ReLoad Sport and ReLoad Swim.
Set for launching in the first quarter of 2016, the alleged neighborhood electric car will cost somewhere between 18,000 to $30,000. Soon after the launching, Local Motors will release a full-speed car.
John Rogers Jr., CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, said that the company is determined to transform the car manufacturing industry. He added that the revolutionizing process has been practiced by traditional car manufacturers for more than 100 years.
“The accessibility of technology has led to Direct Digital Manufacturing, a process that links the online and offline manufacture of cars,” said Rogers. (Direct Digital Manufacturing is a process that creates parts straight from a CAD file.)
Lasers are used in 3D printing processes to form materials, including epoxy resins and powered titanium, into other objects. One pixel is used at a time in the construction, thus it is slower than the traditional manufacturing processes, but customizing capabilities are unlimited.
The manufacture of cars through 3D printing technology is simpler and cheaper than a full-scale production line. It is slower, though, because printing a car takes quite a while.
Local Motors is working on a research about 3D printing with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, known as stereo lithography. It has admitted to falsifying associations with an extensive group of 3D printing amateur and professional innovators for better technology advancement.
The startup company plans to establish compact facilities that requires a small space and is only a small percent of the total cost of an automobile manufacturing factory.