Been tinkering with some science fiction-inspired car designs in your spare time? Local Motors has just announced their 3D Printed Car Design Challenge with $10,000 in prize money if you think you might have the next great 3D printed car idea. Also known as the Direct Digital Manufactured Vehicle (DDMV), the challenge aims to eliminate the expensive tooling process in bringing a car from a napkin sketch to the road. If you’ve been waiting to let your inner-Daniel Simon out, this just might be the perfect opportunity to put those crazy ideas out there.

Design a Car for Local Motors

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Aside from permanent bragging right-status, the winner will receive $5,000 in prize money and a trip to the International Manufacturing Technology Show coming up in Chicago in September 2014 to show off their winning design:

Currently, producing a new car from a new design represents either a significant investment in tooling, or a large commitment in time for someone to produce a design free form if the tooling does not exist. In addition the need for all that production tooling is the result of just how many parts are required to produce the structure of a car. Just to create the cabin of a car, there are exterior body panels, trim, internal structure for rigidity, interior panels, dash covers… even the seats themselves contribute to a seriously overblown Bill of Materials. So the fundamental issue is, what can be done to reduce the initial investment in producing a design, reduce the part count, and reduce the follow-up investment that will be required if the design changes? Imagine if you could create the major elements of the exterior, the structure, and the Interior associated with a vehicle in one part. Then think of changing the design, or even taking on an entirely new one represented no additional cost in tooling. This is what we want investigated in the Direct Digital Manufacturing Project!

The project comes with some files to get you started based off of their requirements. Additionally, here are some other requirements to consider if you’re applying:


Design your vision of the Local Motors 3D printed car

  • Must seat 2 people following the package configuration (provided in the ignition kit). This cannot be changed. The location of the motor, battery, and passengers is “frozen” and thus you may not change the h-point of the passengers, or the position of any of the elements in the provided packaging/ CAD files. This includes the wheelbase and track width. Any modification of the packaging will result in an invalid entry.
  • Must include 4 wheels and battery pack following the package configuration (ignition kit). The wheels, tries, batteries and suspension components have been chosen and thus should not be changed.
  • Must embed the major elements and functions of the exterior, the structure, and the interior in one main printed part.
  • Cannot have mechanical openings (no doors, no hood, no trunk lid… )
  • Must have some kind of windshield / wind deflector


  • Fits in a 12’ long, 6’ wide, 34” high box (3,657mm by 1,828mm by 863mm)
  • 45º angle overhang max without support.
  • printed height: 5/32″ (.16″) or 4mm per layer
  • printed width: 11/32″ (.32″) or 8mm per bead
  • Print in one print– the goal is to create a design that fuses internal and external parts into one single body. This is not the conventional production process of a body on frame.
  • Keep the design simple and eliminate moving parts such as doors, hood and trunk lids.
  • Roof is optional but encouraged (this will be shown at Chicago in September) and it can be a separate piece like a hardshell. Using 3D printing process for this is encouraged.


  • Wheelbase: 2300mm (7′ 6 1/2″)
  • Track Width: 1700mm (5′ 6 15/16″)

Deliverable Views

  • 3/4 Front View
  • 3/4 Rear View
  • Mise En Scene / In Situ / Environmental Rendering Scene
  • Packaging View (Side Profile)
  • Up to 8x Optional Views

For more info head over to Local Motors.

(Images via Local Motors)


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.