The design was chosen in May 2014 from more than 200 submitted to Local Motors by the company’s online co-creation community after launching a call for entries. The winning design was submitted by Michele Anoè who was awarded a cash prize plus the opportunity to see his design brought to life. Less than a year after the original design was chosen, Local Motors will premiere a mid-model refresh, which began its inaugural print on Monday, 12 January on the show floor during NAIAS.
|Phase One. Additive layer printing of the body shown behind the protective screen on the show floor. Click to enlarge.|
Three-Phase Process: Print, Refine, Finish. Local Motors will showcase the proprietary three-phased manufacturing process for 3D-printing cars during NAIAS 2015. The first phase in 3D-printed manufacturing is additive. Made from a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic material by SABIC, the current model of the Strati takes approximately 44 hours to print 212 layers. The end result is a completed 3D-printed Car Structure.
The second phase of 3D-printed manufacturing is subtractive. Once 3D printing is complete, the 3D-printed Car Structure moves to a Thermwood CNC router that mills the finer details. After a few hours of milling, the Strati’s exterior details take shape.
|Fender awaits the router (one support of which is seen to the right). Click to enlarge.|
The last phase of 3D-printed manufacturing is rapid assembly. After the 3D-printed Car Structure is printed and refined, the non 3D-printed components, including the drivetrain, electrical components, gauges and wiring, plus the tires are added. A vinyl wrapping, paint or other surface treatment is used to complement the 3D-printed texture, resulting in a showroom-ready vehicle.
Local Motors built a working micro-factory on the show floor, giving a front-row seat of how cars will be made in the near future. A micro-factory is home to additive manufacturing, which uses digital 3D-design data, called Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), to make a product to exact specifications, without traditional and costly tooling.
Gone are the days of an economy of scale in order to introduce and commercialize a technology. Micro-factories are a great counterpoint because they employ an economy of scope by taking advantage of low cost tooling and co-creation, resulting in the ability to get products to market faster and in less time while using less capital to find a winning concept.—
A micro-factory, which would typically be located within 100 miles of major urban centers, creates more than 100+ local jobs, reduces freight and distribution costs by 97%, increases recycling and reduces waste while speeding delivery time to market, according to the company.
A Local Motors micro-factory would typically be 40,000 sf and includes 20,000 sf for a Lab, used for co-creation, research, technology, education and free community events; 10,000 sf for a Vehicle Showroom and Retail Store; 10,000 sf for a Build Floor to accommodate light assembly of products and vehicles.
Local Motors announced two new micro-factory locations: one in Knoxville, Tenn. and one at National Harbor, just outside Washington DC. The Knoxville location highlights the collaboration between Local Motors and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which signed a deal a year ago to design, build and print the world's first 3D-printed car.
The Local Motors Knoxville micro-factory will focus on rapid commercialize of advanced manufacturing learning’s from ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Faculty and highlights the company’s commitment to being a member of the newly announced IACMI. Debuting the world’s first 3D-printed car at NAIAS demonstrates the success of the public-private partnership.
The micro-factory in National Harbor will be where the first fleet of 3D-printed cars will be manufactured and sold. The location is set to break ground in Q3 2015, with the first 3D-printed vehicles to be delivered and on the road shortly thereafter.