The World’s First 3D Printed Vehicle

Posted on Sep 11, 2014 by

SABIC delivered the innovative materials and processing expertise needed to create a first-of-its-kind concept vehicle using advanced 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) during the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago this week. This fully functional vehicle being printed from scratch and assembled by automotive design firm Local Motors, is expected to be driven off the tradeshow floor on Saturday.

The World's First 3D Printed Vehicle

Local Motors collaborated with large-scale manufacturing system builder Cincinnati Incorporated, advanced materials research pioneer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and SABIC to develop and validate the technology and materials needed to deliver the world’s first 3D-printed vehicle, the Strati, at IMTS .

This ground breaking event showcases a long-awaited solution to a major manufacturing challenge: how to avoid the significant investments in tooling and time necessary to produce large free form designs. Local Motors collaborated with Cincinnati Incorporated, a large-scale manufacturing system builder; Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a pioneer in advanced materials research; and SABIC to develop and validate the technology and materials needed to deliver large format 3D printing technology.

SABIC’s LNP™ STAT-KON™ carbon fiber-reinforced compound was chosen for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio and high stiffness, which minimizes warping during the 3D printing process, enabling enhanced aesthetics and performance.  Additionally, SABIC’s expertise in this emerging technology, including material selection and validation, equipment specification and processing, were instrumental throughout the development process.

Tony Cerruti, Marketing Director, Americas, for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business commented, “SABIC’s materials and processing knowledge together with this advanced additive manufacturing technology will help to address the manufacturing challenges our customers are facing – the high cost to innovate.  We believe that this technology has far-reaching potential for applications across the multiple industries that SABIC serves, bringing designs to market faster and enabling mass customization.”

The 3D printed vehicle event stemmed from a Local Motor’s Design Challenge which resulted in the submission of over 200 entries from 30+ countries.  The winning concept, Strati, inspired the full sized 3D-printed prototype.

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