3D Printing and cars, we believe, will share a wonderful relationship in the future. If Local Motors were to have their way then 3D-printed cars will soon become the norm. At the ongoing SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Local Motors unveiled the LM3D Swim, the latest rapid vehicle iteration leading to a fully homologated 3D-printed vehicle, designed to be safe, smart and sustainable. The auto manufacturer will begin pre-selling models in 2016.
Local Motors had set the automotive industry talking by live-printing the world’s first 3D-printed car at SEMA last year. Now it is moving into intensive testing to produce a road-ready, fully homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), of which 3D-printing is a part.
Previously, we had written about the Strati, one of Local Motors’ first offerings. Now it seems the company is ready to take something to market.
The LM3D Swim is inspired by the work of designer Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who won the company’s recent Project Redacted challenge. Local Motors has adapted Lo’s design for production using bits and pieces, like electric windows and windshields, from the Mazda Miata convertible, with the process from design to finished prototype taking just two months (July-September).
The electric drivetrain of the car includes a core of battery cells that run up the middle of the body that are protected from road impacts by some 4 inches (10 cm) of underside hull. Roughly 75 per cent of the LM3D Swim will be 3D printed, including the body panels and chassis, using some sort of composite ABS plastic/carbon fibre material that’s yet to be finalised. Eventually, Local Motors hopes to be printing as much as 90 per cent of the car.
The LM3D Swim is a kind of beach buggy design, but Local Motors also plans to release a Sport version that keeps the same chassis and side designs but replaces the front and back ends with totally different pieces to completely overhaul the look of the car.
Presales of the LM3D series will begin in 2016, with a targeted price of US$53,000 (Rs 3,475,604) and an expected delivery date in 2017.