World’s First 3D Printed Electric Car: The Strati

Today, The Today Show featured The Strati, created by Local Motors which is the first electric car built mostly from 3D printed parts. It took about 44 hours to print the car which only has 40 parts. 44 hours to print, which is only half the time it took to print a letter on those old dot-matrix printers.  While the car gets a top speed of 40MPH, hopefully it was able to print a brake before it ran out of the carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic it uses for “ink.”

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The car was printed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago where people watched the Local Motors team putting it together. They, Along with research partners hope that this will help bring down the cost of manufacturing cars. Some day you might even be able to make your own car in your own house.  In fact this could dramatically affect “Pimp My Ride” where everyone would be able to print out the most insane cars they can think of. I’m finally going to have that car- fish tank Xzibit has been pushing on people for years.

Looks pretty cool, but how does that thing hold up in a crash? Luckily 3D printing technology has many applications including medical. Keep a 3D printer in the trunk of your 3D printed car and you can 3D print a cast for your legs, or even 3D print replacement parts for your ride.

The idea of a Star Trek style replicator to create whatever material goods we need in the comfort of our own homes may soon move out of the realm of science fiction and into our reality. However unlike the movies and TV real “replicators” or 3D printers will have all the limitations and malfunctions of real life. I’ve often said that we don’t have to worry about the robot apocalypse anytime soon because when they try to take over, we will just have to wait for their systems to crash or freeze and need to be rebooted; Human- Robot War over.

If you have ever tried to put together Ikea furniture you know how frustrating it can be to try and jam the pieces together that don’t always fit in the right holes (TWSS). So you can only imagine how hard it would be to fit together parts printed off of your computer. Check out this cool video from Local Motors showing off the 3D car printing process:

The only parts of the Strati car that weren’t 3D printed are the drivetrain, suspension, battery, tires, wheels, wiring, electric motor and windshield… OK so it’s not exactly a replicator yet, but this might have potential.

Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney