3D printed a full-size working car !



Chinese Company 3D Prints a Full-size Working Car for Just $1770

3D printing is going big, not just in a metaphorical sense. We have seen 3D printed buildings and cars begin to emerge as innovators look to the potential that this technology could have in the future. We saw the world’s first 3D printed car, the Urbee created in 2013. Then last year, a company called Local Motors surprised us all by 3D printing their Strati car in record time. Since then, Local Motors has been quickly iterating upon the processes they use and have already accomplished the full 3D printing of the Strati in just 44 hours flat.  They are now in the process of opening up microfactories worldwide in hopes of 3D printing custom vehicles for clients.


Now, one company based in Sanya City, China, called Sanya Sihai, has just accomplished the 3D printing of yet another car. This car’s body weighs an impressive 500kg (1102 pounds) and is completely electric powered. The manufacturers say that it took about a month and a half to build, with the 3D printing process taking about 5 full days. Unlike the Strati car though, the interior of this one is not 3D printed, nor does this vehicle compete with Local Motors when it comes to aesthetics.

“The density of the material is much lighter than that of the metal, only one-seventh or one-eighth,” explains Chief Designer Chen Mingqiao. “Lighter weight will help save energy in the future.”


Printed in a “Tyrant Gold” filament, the car used an astounding 500kg of filament in the 3D printing process. In total, including 1000 yuan for electricity and labor, the car cost about 11,000 yuan ($1770) to build. The 3D printed body itself, is estimated to have cost about 10 yuan per KG of material, meaning it costs the manufacturer about 5000 yuan ($805) to fabricate.


This “Tyrant Gold” car can seat two, and travel at speeds of up to 40km/h (25 MPH). It measures 3.6-meters long (11.9ft) and 1.63-meters (5.5ft) wide.  Obviously, this is a great accomplishment for the Chinese based company, but it doesn’t come close to competing with what Local Motors has done or continues to do with their vehicles. Not only does the Strati look better, and go faster (40 MPH), but it is also able to be 3D printed in just 44 hours, compared to this car which took 5 days to complete. The Strati also features many more 3D printed parts, other than just the car’s body, including its seats and chassis.

It should be interesting to see how quickly Sanya Sihai is able to develop this car further, and if they will actually mass produce these vehicles in the future. While Local Motors remains leaps and bounds ahead of them as far as 3D printed car manufacturing goes, it should be interesting to see how serious they are about creating their 3D printed vehicles. What do you think about this 3D printed car? Discuss in the Chinese 3D Printed Car forum thread on 3DPB.com.




by  | MARCH 25, 2015

How is driving 3D printed car?

A while ago we brought you news of the world’s first 3D printed car….

Here’s what somebody who drove it had to say!



3D printing a car sounds pretty awesome, but it’s not half as cool as driving one.

Let me repeat: I drove a 3D printed car. It wasn’t for long, and it wasn’t far, but it was a singularly awesome experience.

The car, known as the Strati, is perhaps the world’s fully drivable, almost completely 3D printer-manufactured automobile. Local Motors used crowd-sourced design and a custom-built 3D printer to create the one-of-a-kind (for now) 3D printed car and assembled it over six days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois a few weeks ago.

The company brought the two-seater to New York on Tuesday and I took it for a tiny, yet memorable, test drive.

In person

Clad in a black-and-white leather racing jacket, perfectly worn jeans, and with chiseled features that would look equally at home in a race car or box of Wheaties (at one point I accidentally called him “Steve Rogers” – look it up), Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers greets me with a wide grin and a firm handshake. Behind him is the car.

The all-gray Strati is somewhat larger than I expected. It sits low to the ground like a race car and features just two custom leather seats. On parts of the body, you can clearly see the printed layers, in others, the Strati has been milled to smooth perfection. The body feels, well, like plastic, but also extremely solid. It has race-car lines, but also a custom-built quality. Rogers tells me that there are 227 printed layers in the chassis and the only limit was the 3D printer. Eventually, Local Motors expects to use larger 3D printers to print even bigger cars (can you say “3D-printed SUV?).

I notice that the printing on the fender is vertical instead of horizontal. Rogers explains that Local Motors decided to print the fenders separately. This way, if they’re damaged, you don’t have to replace (read reprint) the entire chassis, he adds.

Rogers gestures toward the interior of the car and points out the red leather seats, which he says Local Motors built and upholstered and noted that the ultimate goal is to provide a sort of fly net or weave-style seating that can be snapped into place on a pre-printed base. As we’re looking at the interior, I notice two compartments in front of the passenger seat. They were, Rogers says, printed as spots for storage — just like a real car. Strike that. This is a real car.

I take note of the large Bridgestone Battlax wheels, which turn out to be motorcycle tires. Then we walk around the back and Rogers unsnaps a vinyl flap to reveal a small Renault Twizy Motor. It sits behind a much larger 120 pound battery.

When it’s time to get inside the Strati 3D printed car, Rogers guides me. “Right leg first and turn your knee to the right to get it under the steering wheel.” I seem unable to turn my leg that way, so I lift my right leg and point my knee sharply to the left to squeeze it under the small steering wheel and dash. Rogers smiles and says, “That’ll work.”

Even though this is a printed car, it doesn’t give the impression of a kit or even cheaply made automobile. The leather-clad steering wheel feels solid in my hands. There’s a tiny dash display for speed and nestled to the left and somewhat behind the steering wheel is a set of three buttons with the letters DNR. D is drive, N is neutral and R is reverse. I note blinker controls on the wheel column, but not a lot else.

There’s room enough for my legs, though I can’t fully stretch them out. The seat does not move back or forward. I can’t quite see it, but my right foot finds the brake and acceleration peddles.

“Put your foot on the brake,” says Rogers, sounding a lot like my first driving instructor. “Now press the D button and then put your foot on the acceleration peddle.” I start to do this, but hesitate. There is no sound. I mean, literally, nothing coming from the Strati engine. Is this car even on?

At first, I press so lightly that the car doesn’t even move. Then, with still no sound, the car starts gliding forward.

The Local Motors 3D printed car can travel up to 50 miles per hour, but early models like this one, which will go on sale sometime in the next 12 months, are set to feature factory-limited motors and batteries so they can’t travel more than roughly 25 miles per hour. This will make them neighborhood safe, which also means there’s no requirement for many of the safety features you come to expect in most modern cars. So no seatbelts (at least that I could find) and no air bags. Rogers tells me that Local Motors plans to work on making the cars street legal and if you buy one next year for roughly $18,000 and an upgrade becomes available, they’ll simply take back the fully recyclable chassis and print you a new, delimited, 3D printed car that can reach 50 miles per hour.

In my short ride I barely went above 5 miles per hour, but I still noticed the ultra-smooth ride and relatively tight steering (there’s no power steering). You’re also very low to the ground. I could imagine that this is what it might feel like to cruise around New York City in a race car.

For the delicate maneuver of driving the Strati 3D printed car back into the transport trailer, Rogers takes over. I sit in the passenger seat and we mount the ramp and roll inside. Even that maneuver felt smooth as butter and, to be honest, oddly thrilling.

As Rogers and his crew finish securing the car inside the trailer, a small crowd gathers. People can tell there’s something different and special about this car. Rogers smiles and patiently answers questions from passersby. I watch and wonder if he’ll give me one more ride and if I could possibly borrow that awesome jacket.

by Lance Ulanoff | Oct 08, 2014

The first test drive of 3D printed ‘Strati’ car

Recently we’ve reported on Local Motors and their 3D printed car, the Strati. This was successfully printed in less than two days, however one question remained:

Will it drive?



When it comes to 3D printing, new breakthroughs and new achievements are being realized almost on a daily basis. From 3D printable human tissue, to a 3D printed life-size castle, and now a 3D printed automobile, the technology never ceases to amaze.

This week, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Arizona-based automobile manufacturer Local Motors stole the show. Over the six day span of the IMTS, the company managed to 3D print, and assemble an entire automobile, called the ‘Strati’, live in front of spectators.

Although the Strati is not the first ever car to be 3D printed, the advancements made by Local Motor with help from Cincinnati Inc, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have produced a vehicle in days rather than months.

Last year, engineer Jim Kor designed the Urbee 2 3D printed car. The vehicle which weighed about half of what a typical automobile would weigh, was as strong as steel. What sets Local Motors’ ‘Strati’ 3D printed car apart from the likes of  the Urbee 2, is the fact that they managed to print and construct the entire vehicle in just six days, whereas the Urbee 2 took 2500 print hours to complete.

This breakthrough was made possible by a machine produced by Cincinnati Inc., in cooperation with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine is capable of printing at speeds unheard of on traditional 3D printers. It is unbelievably able to lay down up to 40 pounds of carbon infused ABS plastic per hour, with precise accuracy. After an exciting six days of printing, in front of a live audience, the vehicle is finally complete. The only question that remained was, ‘Does it drive?”

As you can see by the Vine clips we have posted within this article, it most certainly does! The car, which features just 40 parts, drove out of McCormick Place in Chicago just moments ago. As to what Local Motors plans to do next with the Strati 3D printed car, now that the vehicle has been printed and drives like a charm, they will seek to launch production-level 3D printed vehicles for sale to the public in the coming months.

This is certainly a big step for all companies involved, as well as the 3D printing industry in general. Let us know your thoughts on this amazing accomplishment in the Local Motors 3D printed car forum thread on 3DPB.com.

by  | SEPTEMBER 13, 2014

The first 3D printed car in the world

After only 45 hours, Local Motors successfully 3D printed the Strati, an electric two-seater which can drive for up to 120 miles before charging and hit a maximum speed of 45mph.

Interested in buying one? They’ll be available later this year, at a price ranging from $18,000 to $30,000.


Local Motors Strati 3D Printed Car

While some people have successfully 3D printed buildings, others have taken the same approach to the car manufacturing business, as a company has just come out with a car called the Strati that’s the first 3D-printed car in the world. Scientific American reveals that it took Local Motors only 45 hours to build the Strati, a two-seater “neighborhood” electric car that has a range of up to 120 miles and a maximum speed of 40 mph.

Interestingly, the company plans to start selling Stratis for anywhere between $18,000 to $30,000 later this year, as it further refines its 3D-printing procedure.

“We expect in the next couple of months [printing a complete car] to be below 24 hours and then eventually get it below 10 hours, [down from 45 hours currently]” Local Motors CEO John Rogers said. “This is in a matter of months. Today, the best Detroit or Germany can do is 10 hours on a [production] line, after hundreds of years of progress.”

The car’s design was chosen from over 200 proposals submitted by Local Motors’ online community and Rogers says that the main advantage of 3D printed cars is that local communities may adopt such procedures to build cars best fitted to the resources available to them.

“In the future, you’ll still have … your Detroits that make one product the same over a million units,” the exec said. “And then I think you’ll have examples of microfactories that do things profitably at lower volumes—10,000 units, 15,000 units per year—and show the mass factories what they ought to build next.”

Local Motors chose an electric engine for the Strati because an electric powertrain was simpler to construct. Another advantage the Strati has is that it’s made from thermoplastic using a “Big Are Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine,” which is a fully recyclable material, meaning that it can be easily “chopped up and reprocessed back into another car.”

Even so, while using 3D printing technology to build a car might lead to less wasted material, a lot of energy might actually be required to print such vehicles.

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