We've talked about 3-D printing quite a bit at Komando.com because it has the potential to change how everything we use in the future is manufactured. Whether it's toys, furniture, dishware, prosthetics, internal organs, or even houses, there isn't anything 3-D printing might not end up being a part of.
One of those things is car manufacturing. Right now, it takes years to move from a design on paper (or computer) to a prototype to the finished product. A company called Local Motors wants to do things differently.
Last year at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, it printed the body of a car, the Strati, in just 44 hours. It was impressive, but it wasn't a complete body and the top speed of the car was only 40 mph.
Now, Local Motors is back again with the all-new LM3D Swim. This actually has a full body, including glass and an interior. Around 75% of the car is 3-D printed.
The kicker is that the design didn't come from a team. Local Motors has gathered a "community" over the years that submits ideas for its limited-run vehicles, including the Rally Fighter desert racer.
It picked the design of Kevin Lo for the Swim, and took it from design to productive in just two months. The printing is still a little rough on some of the curves, but it's structurally sound and should be fairly cost effective.
One aspect of 3-D printed cars that has plenty of people excited is customization. What if you could buy a single car chassis (the motor, wheels and underlying structure) and then swap out the shell when you wanted.
Most of the time, you could use a spacious body that has room for the family and groceries. Then for a week night out, you could throw on a sportier body. You could even use a shell of your own design.
What do you think of the 3-D printed car? Would you buy one if you could swap out the shell or even design your own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.