The 3D printing revolution has carved out quite a niche for itself. It has swooshed way past wearables, trinkets, medicines and food and has monopolised the limelight in the automotive industry. 3D printed cars have been making headlines since quite some time now. And the good news is, we are now one step closer to owning them than ever before.
Local Motors, the Arizona-based company, has created the world’s first 3D printed car that is going to hit the streets in the first quarter of 2016. This wonder tool that goes by the name of Strati made its debut at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois in September, 2014.
The Strati is all set to change the way cars are manufactured and is also going to revolutionize the consumer experience.
Manufacturing of Strati
Developed by Local Motors, Strati has been manufactured in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati Incorporated.
‘Strati’, in Italian, means layers. And that is exactly how it is manufactured. Strati is a completely electric car that seats two people. The frame and panels of the car are printed from tiny pellets of plastic infused with carbon fibre. Interestingly, this is the exact same material that is used to build legos. Additionally, the seats and centre console are 3D printed as well. Engine and wheel are added later.
3D printing can be implemented in a number of different methods. The most commonly used, among those, is the usage of laser to transform an endless number of materials into solid objects. Local Motors employs a slightly modified version of this technique that generates one pixel of the object at a time. This is known as Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM). This process has been employed for the first time in manufacturing cars.
The Direct Digital Manufacturing method is time-consuming. In fact, at the IMTS in September, the entire 3D printing and the assembling of Strati was carried out live in front of the spectators in 45 hours. However, Local Motors expects the manufacturing time of the car to go down to 24 hours in the next couple of months and eventually, to 10 hours! On the upside, the DDM method of 3D printing offers endless scope for customization. This means that a consumer can personalize each component of the car - from the seat to the chassis.
Take a quick look at the manufacturing of Strati here.
The Exceptional Design and Features
Local Motors, in 2014, had organized a 3D Printed Car Design Challenge for crowdsourcing the design of the Strati. In this challenge, Local Motors encouraged both, designers and amateurs to submit designs for the vehicle. More than 200 entries streamed in from 30 countries across the world. The winner, Michele Anoe of Italy, was awarded $5000 cash prize along with a trip to the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
Strati is made up of only 40 parts which is quite less compared to that of a regular car, which has about 20,000 parts.
The following are a few incredible features of the Strati:
- The Strati is powered by a battery.
- It weighs about 1500 pounds.
- The range of Strati lies between 100 and 120 miles and it can attain a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.
The material used in building the Strati is 80% recyclable. So if consumers wish to remodel the Strati after a couple of years of buying it, they can simply bring it along to their nearest microfactory and it can be melted down to its basics and recycled into a brand new remodeled car within hours; with a 50% credit of its initial purchase price.
Expected Price and Plans Ahead
Jay Rogers has claimed that the initial price of the Strati is going to be between $18,000 and $30,000. However, he has also stated that this price is going to drop eventually.
Over the next 5 years, Local Motors plans to open 50 microfactories around the world to create a thriving network of the 3D printed automotive. Rogers eventually plans to see these microfactories manufacturing cars with the environment in mind. For example, cars produced in Utah could be made keeping the desert terrain and climate in mind. Similarly, the Alaskan Strati could be designed for cold weather.
With stellar plans ahead, the Strati is all set to take the automobile industry by storm. As mass production begins, the 3D printed fleet is going to turn heads wherever it goes.
Information Shared by iCreate Ltd