3-D printer to ‘build’ a car at IMTS

A three-dimensional printer is expected to produce an automobile that will be driven out of McCormick Place September 13, a demonstration that will be part of the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014.

Called the Strati, the vehicle will be 3D printed in one piece using direct digital manufacturing, (DDM), which is the first time this method has been used to make a car. Mechanical components, like battery, motor, wiring, and suspension are sourced from a variety of suppliers, including Renault’s Twizy, a line of electric powered city cars.

Parts for the automobile will be printed during the course of 44 hours and then assembled by a team led by Local Motors.

The vehicle uses the material science and advanced manufacturing techniques pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

“This project represents the opportunity DOE’s National Laboratory System offers to the industry,” said Craig Blue, director of the advanced manufacturing program and manufacturing  demonstration facility at ORNL. “These partnerships are pushing the envelope on emerging technologies, such as large scale additive manufacturing, and accelerating the growth of manufacturing in the United States.”

A three-dimensional printer known as a BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine can deposit 40 pounds of carbon-reinforced ABS plastic per hour. 

Local Motors plans to launch production-level 3D-printed vehicles that will be available to the general public for purchase in the months following the show. 

TAGS: Fabrication
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