3D-Printed Car Looks Like a Winner

From over 200 concepts, Local Motors' preferred design will inspire the full-size prototype vehicle that will be printed at IMTS in September 2014.

Local Motors has picked a final design among more than 200 concepts submitted in its challenge to define a vehicle to be built at IMTS 2014, with extensive use of additive manufacturing technologies. The Phoenix-based open-source design and hardware market launched the 3D Printed Car Design Challenge earlier this year, in partnership with IMTS, aiming to refine the development process for the vehicle that will be “printed live” at the event in September.

IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014, takes place in Chicago, September 8-13.

As first explained by Local Motors, producing a car represents a significant investment in design and tooling production before any manufacturing begins, and every concept ranges in development time and cost according to the number of parts required to produce the finished structure. The collaborative undertook the contest in partnership with AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology, as an exercise in reducing the initial investment in producing a design, and reducing the part count, by creating major elements of the exterior, the structure, and the interior of a vehicle.

Cincinnati Inc. and Oak Ridge National Labs, who have collaborated on a 3D printing technology, joined Local Motors and AMT in reviewing the design submissions and narrowing the selection of the concepts to be referenced in the final vehicle design.

Local Motors reported that more than 200 submissions were received from over 30 countries during its six-week competition. After a review of all entries by an independent panel of judges, seven designs were selected as winning concepts. 

The winning concept vehicle, called “Strati,” was created by Michele Anoé and will be the most significant influence on the full-size 3D printed prototype.

“It’s simple and clean, with character,” according to MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, one of the judges. “It has a nice style that really hangs together.”

“There are three major challenges facing the auto industry today; part count, weight, and the initial cost of tooling when creating and iterating on vehicles. The hybrid Direct Digital Manufacturing process stands to address all three of these,“ Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers explained. “When these hurdles are removed, we open the door to an exciting new era in automotive design and manufacturing possibilities.”

Six additional concepts were recognized for innovation and popularity among the members of Local Motors’ global community. Some aspects of these designs also may be incorporated into the final prototype.

Each of the final concepts’ designers will receive a $1,000 cash award from Local Motors.

“This continues the legacy of Local Motors bringing disruptive technology to IMTS,” noted Peter R. Eelman, vice president, Exhibitions & Communications for AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology, which organizes IMTS.  “We started this journey in 2010 when Jay Rogers appeared at AMT’s Annual Meeting, and from that, a partnership (with Local Motors) emerged to build the Rally Fighter on the show floor at IMTS 2012. We are excited to showcase the winner’s innovative design and demonstrate to the industry this new process of manufacturing a car with a substantial structure being 3D printed on-site in AMT’s Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2014.”

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