Three days ago boutique automaker Local Motors began the process of 3D printing an entire car, and tomorrow they hope to have installed a fully-functional electric drivetrain to drive it around the International Manufacturing Tech Show. The Strati, as it’s been named, will be one of the first vehicles 3D printed from the ground up, and marks the first baby steps towards a new method of automobile manufacturing.
Though the six-day process is currently far too long to make production sense, Local Motors is using this oppertunity as a proof-of-concept, showing that 3D printing a car CAN be done. What’s more, it opens up a variety of design options and materials not available during the traditional manufacturing process. The Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine can lay down as much as 40-lbs of material per hour, and the Strati will only feature 40 different components, compared to the thousands of components found in conventional cars.
The actual printing process is already over, as is the milling and removal of extra material. The Local Motors team put together the above video that accelerates the printing part, and while the resulting vehicle is neither practical nor road legal for the average family, it shows us that Local Motors is thinking of the future.
In fact, voting is ongoing for Local Motors next project, a $30,000 dedicated track car. Voting ends tomorrow, which is when the LM team will attempt to start and drive their electric-powered 3D printed car tomorrow. You can follow their progress on their Twitter feed.