Make room in your garage for the world’s first 3D printed car
Strati from Local Motors can go from digital concept to physical vehicle in less than 44 hours.
If you're one of the many who believe that today's high-tech world falls short in comparison to the one of hoverboards and self-lacing shoes promised in "Back to the Future II," allow us to close the gap with these three words: 3D printed cars.
Yes, not even "Star Trek" and its food replicators could dream up a future in which everything from violins to high heels could go from brainstorm to physical concept in only a few hours. In the case of the world's first 3D printed car, Strati from Local Motors, it takes less than 44 hours to print the 212 carbon-fiber-reinforced layers for a two-seat model. After some structural refinements and the addition of a drivetrain and electrical components, you have a fully functioning vehicle capable of speeds up to 25 mph.
This high-tech wonder is thanks to a partnership between California software giant Autodesk, Phoenix-based Local Motors, and Massivit, an Israeli startup company specializing in the printing of large objects. The company's Massivit 3D printing machine is capable of spitting out a full-size sculpture of an adult human being in less than five hours – while also printing additional objects simultaneously.
"The Massivit solution is intended to take 3D printing to additional new applications in a very large volume and size and very fast so that it won't take forever to print those large objects," Lilach Sapir, VP of Marketing at Massivit, told From the Grapevine.
While the Strati is not yet a highway-legal vehicle, Local Motors is hoping to shortly build two micro-factories in the U.S. to commercialize the product.
"3D printing and digital manufacturing change the game completely," Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers said. "Altering a design is as simple as uploading new instructions to the 3D printer. If a designer or engineer believes there is room for improvement, they can rapidly prototype and refine the new solution."
So while we may not yet have flying cars, self-drying clothing, or even a Mr. Fusion Home Energy reactor, the time may soon come when we can dream up our own version of the classic DeLorean and print it out in our garages. Something tells us Marty McFly and Doc Brown would still consider that a pretty "heavy" future.
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