The average motor vehicle consists of hundreds of separate parts, but the 3-D printed Strati uses only 40 parts. Though very proud of their accomplishment (as they should be), the Local Motors team acknowledged that there is plenty more work to be done in terms of structure and materials used, as well as how to go about fastening additional parts to the printed structure. We've barely broken the surface when it comes to how we can customize and personalize 3-D printed products.
How Might 3-D Printing Affect The Tire Industry?We have seen some truly incredible products come out of 3-D printing so far. From dinosaur bones to bionic ears, and now a full size car. Will something as common place as tires become a 3-D printing norm? If so, we should not expect to print out Michelin or Bridgestone quality tires from a 3-D printer. The printed tire will roll, but there is no way to mimic the design of a top quality tire right now.
Thousands of tires are manufactured every day around the world. With 3-D printing technology we can eliminate the need for the standard engineering and tooling required for traditional manufacturing, thus being able to produce at a faster rate. I do not know what sort of impact this will have on the job market, but in terms of efficiency it seems like a home run.
While it is not as simple as selecting an image and pressing "Print in 3-D", the 3-D printing process enables the creation of physical objects from a 3-D file. The printer then builds the object, layer by layer.
Local Motors has proven to us that the future of 3-D printing is very bright and hopefully as convenient as the time-lapse video above makes it seem. We could be on the verge of a third Industrial Revolution right now, and I for one am very excited to see how 3-D printing evolves in the coming years.