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Local Motors introduces first 3D-printed car series; pre-sales to begin in 2016

Local Motors, which live-printed a 3D-printed car at SEMA last year, is now moving into testing and development phases that will culminate with a road-ready, fully homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), of which 3D printing is a part. Local Motors plans to begin taking orders next year.

Debuting at the SEMA show in Las Vegas this year, the LM3D Swim was designed by Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who won the company’s Project Redacted challenge in July. Roughly 75% of the LM3D is printed. Local Motors goal is to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D-printed piece as possible, eventually making about 90% of the car using 3D-printing. Nearly all of the body panels and chassis are 3D printed on the LM3D.

The winning design was chosen by community votes and a judging panel that included former Tonight Show host Jay Leno and SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak. That competition was hosted on Local Motors’ co-creation platform, Open IO, with the goal of identifying designs for the next generation of 3D-printed cars.

Software developed by Siemens, including Solid Edge, allowed the Local Motors product development team to move quickly from concept to car with the simplicity of direct modeling and flexibility of synchronous technology. SABIC, a world leader in thermoplastic material solutions, provided the materials used to build the body of LM3D Swim.

Advanced technology will be integrated into all models in the LM3D series. Local Motors recently partnered with IBM to create interactions between the microfactory, 3D-printed vehicles, their drivers and the outside environment in ways never achieved before. These technologies will result in increased safety and efficiency in traffic. Local Motors plans to utilize partners such as IBM as well as other leading technology companies to develop and launch a series of apps and vehicle products to connect, monitor and optimize the driving experience.

Local Motors plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while pursuing federal crash testing and highway certifications. While presales of the cars are expected to begin in spring 2016 with a targeted MSRP of $53,000, manufacturing and delivery of the vehicles are expected in early 2017. All cars in the LM3D series will be built at a new Local Motors microfactory now under construction in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is slated for completion by the end of 2015.



Could become the way to manufacture future custom designed, automated drive, e-cars of all shapes and sizes.


I suppose it comes down to how much extra people will pay for a customized car. I imagine it is way more expensive than just banging out the bodywork.
I could see small parts being custom made, or made to order, but the bodywork seems like a tall order.

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