At IMTS 2012, Local Motors designed and built this rally vehicle using 3D printing methods.

Open-Source Design Contest Seeks Ideas for 3D-Printed Car

April 15, 2014
Direct digital manufacturing at IMTS Scaling down tooling, development time $10,000 in awards

Local Motors, the open-source design and hardware market for industrial designers, launched the 3D Printed Car Design Challenge, aiming to identify ideas and insights in the methodology for incorporating additive and subtractive manufacturing in vehicle design and development. These concepts will guide the design of the new vehicle it will build onsite at IMTS 2014, in September.

Earlier this year, Local Motors announced it would build and deliver the first direct digital manufactured vehicle at IMTS, with AMT as its customer.

Now, designers and others are invited to submit concepts for the design and production of the vehicle to Local Motors, which will be voted on by the Local Motors community, and judged by an independent panel of experts led by Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot and a Local Motors board member. The panel also will include other representatives of the 3D Printed Car Design initiative.

The challenge will run through May 13, 2014. More than $10,000 in prize money will be awarded for winning challenge entries, which will be announced on May 30, 2014.

In order to enter the challenge, designers are required to submit three distinct views of their project (side, three-quarter front and three-quarter rear), one mise-en-scene view, and a description of the benefits and innovations associated with the concept.

Once the design is selected, the vehicle components will be produced onsite at the Chicago event, followed by assembly of the final design. Local Motors has decided the vehicle will be powered by a battery electric drive system, though it noted that the same methods would be compatible with any powertrain solution.

This will be the second vehicle design and assembly effort that Local Motors will undertake with AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology, which sponsors IMTS, following their 2012 project.

“Historically, producing a new vehicle from a new design has represented a significant investment in tooling and a large commitment in time to integrate multiple structures and components,” stated Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers. “This effort to design and deliver the first co-created vehicle using this digital technology and manufacturing process could change the process and speed in which vehicles are designed and built.”

Joining Local Motors and AMT in the design challenge will be the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which recently co-developed with machine tool builder Cincinnati Inc. a large-scale machine for 3D printing process. The “Big Area Additive Manufacturing” machine (BAAM) is complete, functional system for digital manufacturing on an industrial scale.

“This vehicle may well be the coolest vehicle on the planet, at least to those of us in manufacturing technology,” said Rick Neff, manager, Market Development for Cincinnati Incorporated. “I am excited to help judge the design competition for the 3-D Printed Vehicle that will influence how we manufacture many things.  This will be the first application of a BAAM machine from Cincinnati Incorporated.”

Local Motors is a collaborative available to anyone, hobbyists to professional designers and manufacturers, seeking to design, build, and sell machines. It brings together global co-creation efforts and local micro-manufacturing to bring novel hardware to market quickly. The company operates a global network of “microfactories,” and recently struck a partnership with General Electric to pool development efforts and micro-manufacturing capabilities to speed commercialization of new GE products.

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