World’s First 3D-Printed Car to Go on Sale in 2016 + Video

Sun Nov 8, 2015 13:03:49

The world's first 3D-printed car is crude by design, its dashboard looking like stacked silicone beads from a caulking gun. Its flanks, meanwhile, are smooth, resembling the exposed parts of the BMW i3's matte carbon tub.

The Strati is printed from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, a versatile, strong, and relatively cheap material that could enable some new approaches to safety. Thanks to the nature of 3D printing, where the car is built in layers squirted from the nozzles of a massive printer, you can embed energy-absorbing crash structures or superstrong seat-belt mounts that are anchored deep in the body. You could bond springy bumpers to cushion pedestrian impacts (right now Local is experimenting with a printable elastic polyurethane material called NinjaFlex). And if you managed to catastrophically damage the tub, you could unbolt the motor and suspension, melt the car down, and print a new one.