At the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, Local Motors (LM) unveiled LM3D Swim, the world’s first 3-D printed car series. In a Nov. 3 press release, Local Motors announced it will start pre-selling models of the LM3D Swim in spring 2016.
During production, the LM3D Swim’s chassis will be 3-D printed on a machine that shoots out ribbons of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (CFRT), similar to toothpaste coming out of a tube. SABIC, a world leader in thermoplastic material solutions, provided the materials used to build the body of LM3D Swim.
Local Motors, which live-printed Strati, the world’s first 3-D printed car, at SEMA last year, is now moving into intensive testing and development phases that will culminate with the LM3D Swim, a road-ready series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), which includes 3-D printing.
“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 3-D printed cars next year.”
The LM3D Swim was designed by Stanford University graduate Kevin Lo, who made the design in his spare time for Local Motors’ Project Redacted challenge. That competition was hosted on Local Motors’ co-creation platform, Open IO, with the goal of identifying designs for the next generation of 3-D printed cars.
“I didn’t know how to design cars,” Lo told USA Today last week. “I wanted to do something more classic and more basic.”
According to the LM press release, it plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while pursuing federal crash testing and highway certifications. Pre-sales of the cars are expected to begin in spring 2016 with a targeted manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $53,000. Manufacturing and delivery of the vehicles are expected in early 2017. All cars in the LM3D series will be built at a new Local Motors factory now under construction in Knoxville, Tenn., which is on pace to be completed by the end of 2015. Rogers is also looking to open a plant in the National Harbor section of Prince George’s County, Md.