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3D printed cars could hit roads as early as 2016


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3D printed cars could hit roads as early as 2016

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A road ready 3D printed car could be yours if you have 16-27,000 euros to burn. Almost one year after debuting its prototype printed vehicle, American manufacturer Local Motors is offering this neighbourhood electric ride from 2016. The car features interchangeable parts, allowing buyers to personalise the car according to their needs.

The start-up company from Arizona is hoping to revolutionise car manufacturing, which has changed little in the last 100 years.

“It’s a three-step process,” begins John B Rogers Jr, CEO and Co-Founder of Local Motors, continuing, “You start with a digital file that you put into a printer and the printer prints out the rough shape of the car. Then you come along with a milling machine and you cut down the car to be exactly the shape you want it to be in the places you want it to be exact. And then you assemble parts, like motors, wheels, breaks, other things like that and then the car drives away.”

The Strati takes up to 44 hours to print. The next step is to speed up the print rate. On average, a car contains 25,000 parts; the Strati contains just 49. Certain components, such as the engine, tyres and suspension, cannot be printed, but the majority of the car, from the chassis to the seats, is printed using a special plastic which – the manufacturer says – has the same strength as mid-grade aluminum.

The two-seater Strati will disappoint speed junkies, reaching only 40 kilometres per hour. But it should please those with a green conscience, with a life expectancy of 10 years, it can also be recycled.

The makers hope to scale-up their productions by making a full-speed model in the near future.

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