Automotive first, or novelty? Complete car created on 3-D printer
For the first time, a complete car has been printed using a widely available technique known as 3-D printing, the New York Times reported. The 3-D printed car, the Strati, is a small two-seat convertible made from A.B.S. plastic, the same material used to manufacture Lego blocks. The Strati was produced by Local Motors in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The process of 3-D printing involves laying down layers of molten plastic using a computer program that drives a printer to produce the 3-D image previously used to produce prototypes of auto parts. Ford has used 3-D printing to create prototype parts for test vehicles since the 1980s, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Strati takes just 44 hours to print and contains fewer than 50 parts. It is driven by an electric motor and transmission manufactured by Renault. Local Motors has said the price could be $18,000 to $30,000, according to the Times. Early versions will be used as low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles.Download Bulletin PDF