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Local Motors 3D-prints, test drives Strati car during IMTS in Chicago

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Local Motors along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cincinnati Incorporated has created the world's first 3D-printed car - the Strati - which was assembled at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago in barely a week.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Local Motors test drove the 3D-printed Strati at the IMTS. The Strati was also assembled live in front of spectators post the 3D-printing process and it was all done in 45 hours by deploying the direct digital manufacturing (DDM) method. The fully electric car is a two-seater and its name means layer in Italian. The manufacturing process has been used for the first time to produce a car.

"There are no tools. There's no dye. There's no pattern. Those things cost 10's of millions of dollars. It's being free cast, printed out of a machine. No materials wasted. It's just what you get," revealed Jay Rodgers, CEO Local Motors.

The final design for the Strati was selected from more than 300 proposals. The vehicle is made from tiny plastic pellets that are infused with carbon fiber. Interestingly, this is the same material used to make Legos, which costs as little as $5 for a pound! A regular car has over 20,000 parts whereas the Strati has just 40!

The Strati is expected to hit the road in the next couple of months once the highway certification is through. The vehicle weighs nearly 1,500 pounds and is fueled by a battery. The car has a range of 100 to 120 miles and can attain maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.

Local Motors expects that the production time for the car will go down to 24 hours in the next few months. The company eventually estimates the time frame to be less than 10 hours.

The company is optimistic that the Strati will be a game changer in the automobile industry and alter the manner in which vehicles are manufactured.

The 3D-printed Strati will likely herald a new era for the automobile industry and alter the consumer experience. The car is expected to sell between $18,000 and $30,000 and will be available by year end.

Check out the Strati in action in the video shown.

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