Local Motors Shows the World’s First 3D-Printed Car at the Detroit Auto Show

Posted by at 2:07 pm on January 15, 2015


At NAIAS 2015 Local Motors debuts their first ever 3D print car ‘Strati’. Not only they debuted Strati at NAIAS 2015, they also 3D print and assembled the amazing car on the floor live.

The design that is being presented at NAIAS 2015, by Local Motors was chosen from among 200 their co-creation community. The winner was Michele Anoè, who received a cash prize and he also saw his design come to life at NAIAS 2015.

Strati, is the vehicle that the company has chosen to be the first in line for 3D printing. This takes place in less than a year from when the design was chosen back in May 2014. The printing that took place at NAIAS 2015 was the maiden 3D printing of any vehicle.

It was a three phase process by which the vehicle got printed, which the company showed at NAIAS 2015. The three phases in the process are print, refine, and finish.


Additive manufacturing was used on the vehicle which was being made from carbon fiber which has been reinforced with thermoplastic material provided by SABIC. At present it takes approximately 44 hours to print the 212 layers required to complete the car structure in 3D print. Local Motors hopes to reduce the print time down from 44 hours to 24 hours, by speeding up the printing process, but ensuring that the quality is not compromised.


This phase requires subtractive manufacturing. This phase took a few hours as the 3D-printed Car Structure moved into Thermwood CNC router mills that create the finer details.


The final phase that was being shown at the NAIAS 2015 was rapid assembly. It was at this stage that all the components that were not 3D printed were added, such as the tires, drivetrain, and gauges. After they were added, Strati got a vinyl wrapping, surface treatment or paint and the car was ready to be seen at the Detroit Auto Show 2015.


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