The car of the future looks like it’s arrived. Local Motors, an Arizona-based car maker is planning to debut its new LM3D this year, making it the first 3D printed car to hit the roads, available for about $53,000.
3D printing is gaining popularity at such a rate that the auto industry is jumping on the bandwagon too. While making a 3D printed car for the masses appears like a challenge on first sight, Local Motors has open sourced its experiment, collecting over 200 designs for the car online. The firm then went for Kevin Lo’s winning entry from Portland.
The design was selected in July and the model was complete by September. The car can seat two to four passengers and has an open top. The company believes this could be the great turning point for the auto industry. In case of damages or mishaps, the damaged part can be replaced quickly by just printing, maybe even at one of the company’s planned “microfactories”. One car could potentially last a lifetime if this were to happen.
Currently, around 75% of the car’s parts are 3D printed, which the company plans to take up to 90%. The materials used are made of 80% ABS plastic and 20% of carbon fiber. With just about 50 individual parts, the car is significantly different from a traditional car that has about 30,000 parts.
Starting in Spring 2016, Local Motors will launch a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo to reach its 90% 3D printed parts target. The company is also paying the utmost attention to the safety bit of the vehicle and testing its safety rigorously.
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