3D-Printed Car Design Challenge
Conceived by Italian automotive designer Michele Anoé, the Strati is the winner of Arizona-based open-source vehicle manufacturer Local Motors’ first ever 3D-printed car design challenge. The competition sought to uncover concepts that will help create a stylish and functional electric vehicle made using only an industrial fabrication machine.
The winning design is a compact vehicle that evokes a sporty moon buggy, featuring a single-piece body, retractable roof, and removable seats. The Strati will be made for the first time at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September, 2014. It will be printed live in front of attendees over five days.
Local Motors has previously created a 3D-printed car chassis, which had its first successful test drive in June using a motor and battery borrowed from French company Renault’s tiny electric car, the Twizy. The team is now adapting the Strati to fit on this existing chassis, as well as incorporating design elements from other submissions to reduce weight and increase safety.
For this design challenge, Local Motors collaborated with the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which is providing the use of an additive manufacturing machine (3D printer). The machine is crucial due to its size and speed. It employs a hybrid additive/subtractive technique – first using a large-diameter extrusion head to roughly print objects of this scale at high speed, and then using a router on the same head to refine the object to more precise specifications.
For more on the potential for 3D printing to alter manufacturing conventions, see 3D Printing Outlook 2014 and World First: 3D-Printed Car. For more auto coverage, look to our Geneva Motor Show 2014 and North American Auto Show 2014 event coverage from earlier this year.