Tech Spotlight: 3D Printed Cars Are on the Way

Tech Spotlight: 3D Printed Cars Are on the Way

Local Motors, a community-sourced vehicle design and manufacturing company, ran a contest earlier this month to see who among the site’s designers could submit the best design for a 3D-printed car. 

The company picked a winner, along with several runner-ups. According to the Verge, Local Motors is already printing out the winning design, called the “Strati,” as a test.

The report notes that it is not immediately clear how much of the car will be 3D-printed beyond the frame. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of printing out a ready-made car chassis in the comfort of one’s own living room.

James Earle, an advanced manufacturing engineer at Local Motors, spoke with Breitbart California by phone on Friday morning.

He said there were 206 designs submitted in the contest. Of those 206, one winner was chosen based on two factors: which car design was best overall, and which car design fit best with the 3D printing technology. Another design, “Internal Strut Frame,” was chosen as the second winner by collecting the most votes among Local Motors’ internal design community.

When asked about the company’s plans to bring the 3D printed cars to market, Earle said the company was focused on shorter-term goals for now.

“Mostly, we’re focusing on having a functional model to debut onstage at the International Manufacturing Technology Trade Show in Chicago,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do a large-scale print soon.”

Earle said that as far as he knew, Local Motors is the only company building full 3D-printed chassis from polymer. Still, he said, it may be a bit too soon to say that consumers could print cars in their homes.

“It’s definitely possible,” he said. “But the printers take up a lot of space. What would be cool to do is offer customization to customers. Customers could come in and use our printers to print their own car modifications.”

So, while “printing and driving” looks to be a ways off, hopefully we can print out fuzzy dice and 12″ rims in the near future.


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