One of the most talked about innovations at the 2014 SEMA show this week is the world's first 3D printed car, made by Local Motors.
By using a 3D printer, the automobile shell is printed out in one piece and parts are "cut down" Local Motors Co-founder and CEO John B. Rogers, Jr. said to KTNV.
The Phoenix-based company is expecting to begin wide scale production of 3D printed vehicles for the general public within 8-10 months, with plans to build dozens of microfactories around the globe over the next 10 years.
Rogers isn't just showing off the first "Strati" 3D printed car ever in Vegas however. He's making a new one.
By using a 3D printer at the Convention Center, Rogers said a new Strati will be built in three phases during the four-day event. It takes 44 hours to print a car, and once the process is complete, workers can assemble it.
"The average car today has 25,000 parts because when you have sheet, you have brackets, you have adhesives, you have grommets, all those things," said Rogers. "The printer takes care of all of that."
On Friday, the vehicle will be driven on to the Las Vegas Strip for its first test run.
Local Motors also announced this week that it will be giving away 12 3D printed Strati cars as part of their new "ModMen" Challenge.
"Local Motors will be giving away twelve (12) 3D-printed cars to car modders to 'pimp' the 3d-printed car," said Kate Hartley, Real Time Digital Strategist & Blogger for Local Motors to 3DPrint.com in a press statement. "They will choose everything from the tires to the powertrain, and then they will be invited to show off their customized 3D-printed cars at SEMA 2015."
The competition begins this January, which will require those interested in competing to modify a 3D printed vehicle. All participants can send in their design proposals to the Local Motors website, where an online vote will take place.
"From racing, to street, to show, car modification has always been the true soul of vehicle innovation," said Rogers. "At Local Motors, our goal is to fuel the next great generation of 'Hot Rodders' by putting the newest technology in their hands, and the ModMen Challenge does exactly that. These are not just 12 cars customized with aftermarket parts, but a peek into the future of automotive re-imagination. I cannot wait to see how this group pushes the boundary of 3D-printed cars."
The top 12 voters will be announced in March 2015, each of whom will have their own 3D printed car by May.
Finalists will then have until SEMA 2015 in November to "hack up" their cars to present them during the show, where a Grand Prize will be awarded.