Local Motors a U.S company created with crowd funding has just announced the winner of its challenge to design a 3D printed car.
It is a serious competition with a $5000 prize but more importantly; the winning design gets to be 3D printed and hopefully the parts assembled into a working car. Even if it will only be a prototype, it will be great if they actually make it work. As they say, ‘she is not just a pretty face’. Proof of concept is a very important step in engineering before ever going to market with anything.
The competition was very popular with over 200 entries being submitted from across the world with 6 runners up receiving $1000 each a piece. The standard was very high given the photos now appearing in the news.
The winner Michele Anoé from Italy will receive hist $5,000 in prize money and see his model 3D printed and displayed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago (September) this year.
The winning design called Strati has a sporty body and an accordion-pleated roof which retracts for open top cruising. The body is 3D printed from ABS in a single block with an aluminium roll cage/frame and with carbon fibre struts supporting the front and rear. You can see more photos here on the Local Motors web site.
Thinking ahead, it really can’t be too long before we see 3D printed cars in kit form coming onto the market from the likes of Caterham, Aerial Atom, etc. In fact, a 3DPrintWise prediction is that 3D printing will spawn a whole new raft of small niche kit car manufacturers within the next 5 years. It is going to give them another way to deliver at least many of the components. What is more, the types of people who build kit cars are just the type of people that will embrace 3D printing. It is no small feat to construct a kit car, taking practical engineering skills and lots of patience.
We are hoping small kit car businesses will move forward, offering exciting designs which we wouldn’t normally get to see in the ‘flesh’, let alone make and drive one. Not just sexy sports cars but customisable urban vehicles which will hopefully use electric power and be made from lightweight recycled materials.
I am sure we can all think of quite a few cities that need several million 3D printed electric cars right now – cough, cough, splutter, splutter.
Update: 3D Printing Cars
It is now the 9th of September and we have an important video update to the article about 3D printing cars. The Local Motors video above is awesome and it shows the car is ready to roll for the Chicago International Manufacturing Technology Show.