Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) had the opportunity to check out a model from the world’s first soon-to-be mass produced 3D printed car series – the LM3D, from Chandler, Ariz.-based Local Motors. Ryan is the co-chair of both the House Manufacturing Caucus and Maker Caucus, which on March 16, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University and America Makes, held a briefing on how additive manufacturing is transforming industry in the United States and creating new economic opportunity around the country.
“Companies of all sizes are shifting their focus to additive manufacturing because of its unique capabilities to produce shapes that are not possible via traditional manufacturing processes,” Carnegie Mellon said in a statement. “As industry shifts its focus to additive [manufacturing], policymakers are also moving their attention to this technology and its potential economic impact.”
David Woessner, the general manager of Local Motors’ sales and demonstration facility opening in June at nearby National Harbor, Md., also spoke at the briefing. According to Adam Kress, director of public relations and content at Local Motors, the model of the LM3D on display in DC will stay at the National Harbor facility.
Local Motors announced it will start selling a vehicle in the LM3D series by early 2017. Roughly 75 percent of the LM3D is printed. Specifically, its chassis is 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.
“Our goal is to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D-printed piece as possible, eventually making about 90 percent of the car using 3D-printing,” Local Motors says on its website. “We are continually testing new types of materials and different blends for additive manufacturing. As of now, we’re using a blend of 80 percent ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic and 20 percent carbon fiber.”