3D-printed cars could be coming to a car dealer near you. Although the technology is still relatively new, the exciting possibilities are endless. The technology has already proven to be a huge help in both the medical field and space travel.
Are 3D-printed cars the next big thing?
The very first 3D-printed car ever designed is called the Reload Redacted Swim/Sport model, which is a customizable automobile with sleek parts. The cars can be made to suit a car owner’s personal preferences or lifestyle. Currently, the first models retail for between $18.000 and $30,000.
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The winning design for the car was made by Kevin Lo, a mechanical engineer from Vancouver, Wash. He received a $7,500 prize plus royalties that come from future sales of his design. Lo explained:
“You can drastically change the look of your car and make it track-read, fun, and sporty. With speakers on the outside of the car, I want the car to be the focus of everyone’s attention.”
Details on the 3D car’s design
The car features a skateboard-style chassis that covers key components such as steering, suspension, battery and drivetrain. The car also comes with external speakers and removable panels for the front, rear and roof.
The body parts and chassis of the car are produced by a printer that is the size of a room. The printer was made in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The production version will be built in a Tennessee factory. The company that made the 3-d printed car, Local Motors, strives to add several other locations within the coming years. The company’s business model also revolved around the micro-factory concept. This allows customers to create their own cars with custom kits. It also exempts them from many government regulations, including one that makes it difficult for low-volume manufacturers to build their vehicles in the United States.