Thirty years since the phenomenon of 3-D printing took its first embryonic steps, fascinating firm Local Motors has announced that it can produce a 3-D printed car.
Granted, they can’t print the powertrain (which is borrowed from a Renault Twizy), suspension, brakes and seat covers, but at the recent International Manufacturing and Technology Show in Chicago they printed their own car, built it and then drove it off the stand!
It took 44 hours to print, followed by a similar amount of time to prepare and assemble all the parts (of which Local Motors claim there are just 40). The end result was a kind of open-topped city car, although the potential of 3-D printing technology in the car industry will likely see you wait at your local car dealership while the parts department print out a replacement part or panel while-you-wait. Or perhaps you’ll be walking in to a dealership in the morning, speccing-up your car, going for a spot of lunch and then collecting it in the afternoon?
Come to think of it, with advances in WiFi technology how far off are we racing 3-D printed cars? Imagine going testing, establishing an area that needs further development and then printing out a new part there-and-then! Mind you, given how often I look at my ‘phone only to see that there’s no 3G it’s possible that 3-D printing technology will soon overtake internet connectivity! Oh the irony.