Innovation That Matters

3D printed car could be infinitely recyclable


Local Motors is testing customizable motor vehicles, which contain 75 percent 3D printed, IoT-enabled carbon fiber parts.

We first wrote about Local Motors one year ago, when they unveiled the world’s first publicly available 3D printed car. Now, the company has revealed plans for the LM3D, an infinitely recyclable, 3D printed motor vehicle.

The LM3D model, built in partnership with IBM Watson, Sieman’s Solid Edge, IDEO and SABIC, currently has 75 percent 3D printed parts from a blend of ABS plastic carbon fiber. Designed with current and future IoT networks in mind, the LM3D will have smart, inbuilt hardware and software. With sustainability at the core of the design, parts can be manufactured directly from digital files at ‘Microfactories’, reducing the costs and carbon footprint associated with molding, casting and machine use. Users could recycle parts indefinitely, replacing damaged bodywork or upgrading as newer parts are developed — the idea is that owners would only need to buy one basic car body for a lifetime. Local Motors will launch a crowdfunding campaign in 2016, and continue development towards a 90 percent 3D printed car, with safety standards that exceed current guidelines.


Between 3D printed bodies and driverless systems, the field of vehicle automation will play host to many more innovations in the coming years. What are some other consumer needs of future driverless passengers?



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