U.S-based Local Motors plans to 3D print vehicles within 12 hours, reinforcing extruded printed material with graphene. The company reports significant progress in its additive manufacturing technology since it unveiled its Strati vehicle (pictured) last September.
The Strati's body was printed in 44 hours, assembled and driven at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago last year. It used ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fibre, and contained 40 printed parts. Local Motors announced plans in January this year to open two “microfactories” in the US, and plans 50 such factories worldwide over the next five years.
The company said that the first model Local Motors would offer for sale, over its first few months, would not be a Strati. The plan was to eventually offer opportunities for people to submit their own designs, to offer a high degree of customisability and to provide credit incentives to return cars to have material recycled.
The company was looking to reduce the print time to 12 hours, with a four to five-hour assembly time, and had been speaking to a Korean firm about sourcing graphene for extruding in composite 3D printing materials.