3D printing has been around for decades, but it’s only been in the past five or so years that it’s really entered the mainstream consciousness. Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers was on hand at the Detroit Auto Show to announce the opening of two new “micro-factories” and to show off their 3D printed car, the Strati.
Local Motors, which already gave us the Rally Fighter and a drift trike, has already improved on the Strati since the 3D-printed car first made its debut late last year, and Rogers has been a busy guy. In 2015 Local Motors plans to open two new microfactories, one of which in Knoxville near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where LM will work with the government researchers to continue to refine faster commercialization of industrial 3D printing methods.
Then there’s the Local Motors micro-factory that will be built just outside of Washington DC in National Harbor, on the shore of the Potomac River. There will also be a showroom on site that will hopefully help put the Strati into production shortly after the factory itself opens in the next year. So by now you might be asking yourself, “What’s a micro-factory?” I’ll let Jay Rogers himself tell you.
“Gone are the days of an economy of scale in order to introduce and commercialize a technology,” said Rogers. “Micro-factories are a great counterpoint because they employ an economy of scope by taking advantage of low cost tooling and co-creation, resulting in the ability to get products to market faster and in less time while using less capital to find a winning concept.”
With the goal to bring 3D printing to the masses, Local Motors has a tall order ahead…but their ambitions could also put them on the frontlines of the next industrial revolution.