US car manufacturing maverick Local Motors has launched a competition to design the first 3D printed electric vehicle, and with entries already rolling in the final design is expected to wow.
The competition, which is open for entries until 13th May, will be voted on by members of the Local Motors online community and judged by a group of experts including MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.
The chosen design will then be 3D printed using a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine, the first large-scale 3D printer of its kind, at September’s International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, US.
“This vehicle may well be the coolest vehicle on the planet, at least to those of us in manufacturing technology,” said Rick Neff, manager market development for Cincinnati Inc, the company providing the BAAM machine.
With over $10,000 in prize money, the competition has already attracted some strong contestants, with designs ranging from sophisticated but traditional to cool and zany. Here we profile some of our favourites from the entries so far.
Spider Net by Chavito
This design is still in progress, but is shaping up to be pretty cool. According to car buffs in the Local Motors online community, the design could provide good structural strength while keeping the overall weight low.
Lithos by Lulu
Taking inspiration from classic racing cars, this design uses opposing tapered elements to crate a rigid triangulated overall structure. Some areas of the vehicle are kept soft to provide added protection if an impact occurs.
3D Printed City Car by Vasilatos Ianis
With a design that resembles a mashup between a Borderlands Outrunner and a Tron bike, this dune buggy-style vehicle is our favourite of the entries so far. The designer, Vasilatos Ianis, has already submitted another more steampunky design, so we’re expecting to see his name somewhere amongst the winners.
Hantig Concept by Gabriel Hantig
Intended to be manufactured from just three components, this design forgoes doors in favour of a sleek, unbroken body complete with seats. With a front that some commenters have compared to designs by legendary Italian car design firm Pininfarina, this vehicle ties traditional design with a modern finish.
3DPCarXperiment by Braunarsch
Another work in progress, this design is interesting because it plays up the 3D printed aspect by incorporating the characteristic additive lines into the vehicle’s finish. The vehicle has a look that is quite reminiscent of a bumper car, so we’re interested to see how this design progresses.