Forget miles of assembly lines. Local Motors is now 3D-printing cars

Crowdsourcing carmaker Local Motors may be best known for the V8-powered, dune-conquering Rally Fighter, but for its next project, the company has ventured completely to the other end of the spectrum.

Like the automotive firm projected in March, Local Motors is currently building a 3D-printed electric car at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

Related: Local Motors’ 3D-printed electric car to become a reality in Chicago

According to Top Gear, the electric car is called the Strati, and is full-sized, completely drivable, and is made up of just 40 parts. For comparison’s sake, the average car has something on the order of 30,000.

This amazing feat of engineering was made possible by 3D-printing technology that takes just 44 hours to create the car. If everything goes well, Local Motors hopes to drive the Strati off the technology show’s floor.

The automotive firm released a video recently detailing the vehicle’s assembly process. The time-lapse really is quite astounding, as the Strati isn’t so much assembled as it is grown.

Local Motors Strati

A robotic sprayer meticulously sprays out an amalgam of carbon fiber and plastic to fill in the bodywork, supports, seats, dashboard, and even the windshield.

The 3D printer can’t cover every part of the car, though, so the electric powertrain (sourced from a Renault Twizy), suspension, wiring, and battery were borrowed from outside sources.

Like the Rally Fighter, Local Motors’ Strati was born from a community-based design collaboration. Italian Michele Anoé submitted the winning layout, winning a $5,000 prize in the process.

Local Motors was previously quoted as saying the car will be “purpose-built for the urban transportation needs of Chicago,” and the company “hopes to have it on the streets in the months following the show.”


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