The first ever 3D Printed Car Design Challenge has been run and won with Strati, a design by Michele Anoé of Italy, chosen from a field of over 200 entries submitted by contestants from more than 30 countries. As well as winning a $5000 cash prize for his efforts from the organizers, Local Motors, Michele's concept will provide the most influence for a full-size 3D prototype to be printed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) this September in Chicago, Illinois.
Begun back in April, the 3D printed Car Design Challenge run by Arizona-based crowd-source automotive firm Local Motors was created with the aim of bringing together ideas, concepts and designs that could be shared, discussed and voted upon to assist in producing one whole 3D print car concept.
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The Local Motors Forge community has been involved in many other projects including the likes of the Verrado electric drift trike and the recent redux on the Harley-davidson motorcycle, but this is the first time that Local Motors has brought the community together to produce a vehicle to be printed entirely in 3D.
Though not the first 3D printed car to be produced – the Urbee hybrid holds that honor – the manufacturing lessons learned from producing the example vehicle at this year's IMTS will go on to assist in producing a production-ready version in the months following the show.
"There are three major challenges facing the auto industry today: part count, weight, and the initial cost of tooling when creating and iterating on vehicles," says Jay Rogers, Local Motors CEO. "The hybrid Direct Digital Manufacturing process stands to address all three of these. When these hurdles are removed, we open the door to an exciting new era in automotive design and manufacturing possibilities."
And it is the advent of 3D printing that will drive this new era in automotive manufacturing. With the possibility of conceiving, designing, and finally producing a vehicle completely within a digital environment, vehicles should not only be faster and easier to produce from concept to showroom, but with less waste, less specialist labor, and without the need for acres of factory floor. A true revolution in vehicle manufacturing for the 21st Century.
Here are the top seven finalists in the Local Motor's 3D Printed Car Design Challenge:
StratiA simple and clean design incorporating a foldaway roof and simple, molded-in seats, Strati is designed with an integral roll bar, projector headlights, and a modular cabin.
Six other concepts whose innovative features may also be integrated into the ultimate prototype were chosen for their originality and innovation. Each of the designers of these vehicles will also receive a $1,000 runners-up award from Local Motors for their efforts.
Amongst the runners-up, the concept ISF (Internal Strut Frame) – selected as community favorite by members of Local Motors’ global community – uses vertical interior struts to support the outer-most surfaces, to save weight whilst providing a rigid structure.
Like the Internal Strut Frame concept, Aeroblade also uses structures held vertically to support outer surfaces. This multi-layered design helps overcome 3D printing’s difficulty in bridging horizontal gaps, which – in something the size of a car – is quite a challenge.
Another selected design, the 3DPCX has a span like a bridge support down the center, and along with sweeping structural supports, the 3DPCX is an open and airy vehicle reminiscent of an Ariel Atom.
The Supernova incorporates angular design elements as part of the overall structure of the design, that are also reflected on the interior making it look functional and lightweight.
Taking out an innovation award for incorporating layers to create 3D printed crumple zones, the Mirage demonstrated a unique take by also including manufacturing and safety factors into its design. "(The Mirage) ... is a great looking car, offering some solid suggestions for what can be achieved with additive manufacturing,” says Rick Neff, Manager, Market Development for Cincinnati Incorporated.
Rounding out the finalists is the e-spider. Looking like a cross between a dune buggy, a smart car, and a Lotus Elise, the e-Spider has an innovative roof design with integral body support structures to also allow it to double as a convertible.
Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists.
The International Manufacturing Technology Show will be on September 8 - 13, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. A short video on the competition can be seen below.