The Strati, Courtesy of The Verge
3D printing has come a long way, and one company wants to use it to change the way we transport ourselves from Point-A to Point-B. Local Motors is looking to establish a micro-factory where it will not only showcase the 3D printing of vehicles, but also allow people to participate in the assembly of the vehicle. Although, they have not disclosed the extent of that participation. The company targets its grand opening in late 2015 in Maryland.
According to The Verge, the company has even hauled in an entire 3D printer to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to demonstrate the end-to-end process of creating every part of a 3D printed vehicle; a process that takes roughly 44 hours. The process of 3D printing vehicles could be a game changer in the industry as it takes substantially less space. The “Micro-Factory”, as Local Motors calls it, only requires 40,000 square feet to enable the entire operation. To give a comparison, the Tesla Auto Factory is 5.5 million square feet. That makes Local Motor’s Microfactory less than 1% of the size!
For perspective on the process, check out this incredible time lapsed demonstration of the printing of Local Motor’s 3D printed production vehicle, the Strati:
Additionally, perhaps what is most exciting about 3D printing vehicles are the potential customization options. While the engine and moving parts would likely need to stay uniform to certain set standards for performance reasons, the interior and exterior could be custom designed to the preferences of the consumer at a much lower cost due to 3D printing technology. Local Motors has not announced whether or not it intends to use the new factory for applications beyond printing the Strati (pictured above), the vehicle it intends to bring to production this year.
What are your thoughts on 3D printed vehicles? How would you design yours? Let us know in the comments below