The World's First 3D-Printed Car Debuts at SEMA, Meet the Local Motors LM3D Swim

We may not be able to digitize food like in Star Trek, but we can print the things we drive. Local Motors, a company famous for making Baja-inspired off-roaders, has just revealed the first 3D-printed electric car to hit the market. It's called the LM3D, and it made its debut at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
LM3D Swim 1 photo
Photo: Local Motors
Local Motors has been talking about the 3D printed car for quite some time, while systematically showing prototypes at every stage of their development.

The LM3D Swim is, as the name vaguely suggests, a beach cruiser version of the prototype Local Motors made earlier. For now, about 75% of the parts are made using the company's large scale 3D printer. However, the manufacturer has plans to crank that up to 90% in a few years.

Sales will start early next year, and Local Motors wants to subject several other models to federal crash testing and highway certifications. While presales of the cars are expected to begin in spring 2016 with a targeted price of $53,000 (ouch!), it might become a little cheaper with time.

We can't pretend it makes sense to pay that much for something that looks like a cross between a Miata and a Beetle. However, there should be plenty of people willing to spend the cash made by their IT firm on cutting edge technology.

“In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today,” Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the crowd at SEMA. “We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.”

The video below shows how the body of the vehicle is printed using thermoplastic. The design was created by Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who won the company’s Project Redacted challenge in July.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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