Science and Tech


Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours.
Posted at 2:25 PM, Sep 15, 2014

Working guns, high heels, cups, even body parts. 

Although the technology is relatively new, we've seen a lot of what 3-D printers can create — except this. 

The shell of a car was created with a 3-D printer in just two days. Created by Local Motors, Strati is the car's name, which is Italian for layers. Strati took its first spin fresh off the press at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago Saturday. 

WFLD: "The car ... weighs about 1,500 pounds. Most cars have tens of thousands of parts; Strati only has 40. So far it also only goes up to 40 miles per hour."

And when it comes to cars — the fewer components, the less room for error. 

Right now Strati runs on battery power, but eventually it could come with a gas motor. The car is made completely of recyclable material so it can easily be used to create another car. 

One of the creators of Strati told WGN-TV his motivation was speed, saying the amount of time it takes to build a car is frustrating. The goal is to get Strati on the market and get them built so fast it'll make your wheels, er, head spin. 

"Eventually it will be built while you wait." 

"My hope is that the way we've simplified the build and the technology is that we will not only be able to make leading technology cars but these things will be ultimately affordable." 

Affordable, indeed — Local Motors estimates the car could retail somewhere between $18,000 and $30,000.          

Now, this isn't the first 3-D printed carto be produced, but it's speed that makes Strati special. 

BUSINESS INSIDER: "In 2013, a car known as the Urbee ... became the first vehicle to have a 3-D printed body. It took about 2,500 hours to print. The Strati ... took just 44 hours to print."

In the next couple of months, the company hopes to cut production time down to just 24 hours. Its next goal after that — less than 10 hours.

This video includes images from Mitch Barrie / CC BY SA 2.0Pelle Sten / CC BY 2.0 and UCL Engineering / CC BY SA 2.0.