You may have heard of Local Motors, the open source and crowd built automotive design company. As one might expect from a car company that has car purchasers build the car they buy, Local Motors has found a way to incorporate 3D printing into the cars themselves, albeit a small one.
Up until now, the expanding Boston firm, now with a micro factory in Arizona, has used 3D printing for the prototyping of parts. Recently, however, the group used their Makerbot Replicator 2 to fabricate extensions for the side view mirrors of their first crowd car, the Rally Fighter. The Rally Fighter, whose exterior was designed by Sangho Kim, then a student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, has been outfitted with side view mirrors from a Dodge Challenger. Typically, machined mirror extensions were used to give the driver better visibility. With the Replicator 2, however, these parts can be made much more affordably.
Perhaps it is small modifications like these, in addition to their mass produced engines and machine parts from companies like BMW, that make the Rally Fighter street legal. It may seem like a minor use of 3D printing, but, as the firm invites the net community to design the exterior shape and style of their automobiles, additive manufacturing may become more necessary in the construction process as car designers become more wild with their models.