Local Motors Is Really Into 3D Printed Cars, Opening Two Mini Factories

The 3D printing technique can be looked at as the second industrial revolution, enabling people to build what they need and when they want as long as they have the digital blueprints and the required materials. In the near future cars could be benefiting from this tech too and Local Motors seems to be willing to pioneer the method.
Local Motors 3D printed car Strati 1 photo
Photo: Local Motors
At this year’s North American International Auto Show, Local Motors brought an improved version of the Strati, the word’s first 3D printed car that was made in 2014. But that’s not all, because the company now plans to extend this business an open two micro-factories that will aid putting 3D printing in the automotive industry.

“Gone are the days of an economy of scale in order to introduce and commercialize a technology,” LM CEO Jay Rogers said. “Micro-factories are a great counterpoint because they employ an economy of scope by taking advantage of low cost tooling and co-creation, resulting in the ability to get products to market faster and in less time while using less capital to find a winning concept.”

One of the facilities will be built in Knoxville, near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This one will work more as a research center than a real factory. The second one will stand outside Washington DC, in National Harbor right on the shore of the Potomac River.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, since Local Motors wants to open a total of 100 micro factories around the globe in the next 10 years, including labs, building floors and shops.

Why 3D printing is good for the auto industry? Simply because it will lower costs. Imagine you can use the same machine to build multiple parts without even changing the mold.
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