Whether or not 3D printing an actual car makes absolute sense, somebody had to be the first do it properly. Naturally, that would be Local Motors, the crowdsourced automotive design hub and makers of the Rally Fighter.

The company made history this past weekend when they introduced their hyped ‘Strati 3D printed car’ concept that, like any other design the company has worked on, was built with help from crowdsourced designers, engineers and tinkerers.

Presented as a part of the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, the Strati made its first appearance when it was rolled out and drove around the venue, McCormick Place, during the six-day show.

Printed over 44 hours, the car went from CAD file to a final working automobile in under six days. For those who might remember the Urbee from a few years ago, then you’ll know that the ‘Strati’ isn’t necessarily the world’s ‘first’ 3D printing car…but compared to the 2,500 hours it took to create the Urbee, the 144-hour Strati is quite an improvement in just three years.

The Strati consists of one single print for the car’s body while the rest of the components including wheels, wires, suspension and others are sourced from elsewhere.

The car was printed on a BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine with a deposition rate of 40 pounds per hour of carbon-reinforced ABS plastic. While the print resolution isn’t much to shout home about, the ability to create static objects of this size with the end-goal of mass-manufacturing is quite remarkable.

Local Motors is planning on launching production-level 3D printed electric vehicles that will be available to the general public within the next year. In the meantime, you can check out the ‘big reveal’ here:

If you’re in the market for a 3D printed car, head on over to Local Motors to stay updated.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.