World's First Road-Ready 3D Printed Car Unveiled with $53K Price Tag

To learn more about what went on behind the first road-ready, 3D printed car line and what it will bring to the world of auto manufacturing, read 3DPI’s interview with Local Motors’ CEO Jay Rogers.

Last year, Local Motors not only unveiled their first 3D printed car, but actually 3D printed it live on the floor of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.  Demonstrating their proof of concept in front of a huge audience, the open source, crowd sourcing auto manufacturer has decided that it’s ready to 3D print an entire series of vehicles, debuting the first in the all-new LM3D Swim at SEMA in Las Vegas.

Local Motors LM3D Swim 3D printed car

Today at the SEMA show, Local Motors is showing off its second concept car, which will be turned into a fully homologated 3D printed vehicle.  Designed by Local Motors community member Kevin Lo, who won the Project Redacted crowdsourcing challenge earlier this year, the LM3D Swim will be available for pre-order in Spring of 2016.  Moreover, the company will also be unveiling subsequent models in the LM3D line throughout next year, with plans to ship their first fleet of road-ready vehicles in 2017.

Local Motors LM3D 3D printed car at SEMA

After Lo won the challenge on Local Motors’ Open IO co-creation platform in July, the Local Motors team began prepping the design for actual production, which now involves intensive testing and development phases. To bring his designs into reality, the Local Motors product development team relied on software from Siemens, including their Solid Edge tool, ensuring that Lo’s concept could be fabricated using the firm’s direct digital manufacturing (DDM) process.  Then, using materials provided by SABIC, the LM3D Swim was 3D printed on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine, developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati Incorporated.  To achieve a more refined finish, the BAAM also implements a router, taking maximum advantage of both additive and subtractive processes.

Local Motors LM3D 3D printed car

At SEMA, Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers, enthused, “In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today. We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.”

Local Motors CEO Jay Rodgers in 3D Printed Car Drives at IMTS
Local Motors CEO, Jay Rodgers. Photo by Danielle Matich of Volim Photography

Interestingly, the LM3D series is being both manufactured intelligently, using Siemens software for design and the BAAM system for production, and will incorporate intelligence into the cars themselves.  This is through a partnership with IBM and other tech companies who are working with Local Motors to create an entirely new driving experience.  With apps and vehicle products meant to connect and monitor the car and its relationship to the outside environment, the company suggests that the LM3D series will be safer and more efficient in traffic.

Local Motors LM3D Swim 3D printed car at SEMA 2

While presales will begin next Spring, with a targeted MSRP of $53,000, there is a lot of work to be done to not only manufacture the LM3D series, but to also ensure that it will be ready for the road.  Local Motors will have to ensure that the LM3D series meets crash testing and highway certifications. Once complete, however, the company will be able to begin manufacturing the LM3D autos at their new Knoxville, Tennessee micofactory, currently under construction and set to be complete at the end of this year.