The Strati, a 3-D printed vehicle, made by Local Motors, at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.
The car’0Is structure combines the body and chassis in a single unit and is made entirely from a composite, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, reinforced with carbon fiber. Commonly called A.B.S., it is the same thermoplastic used to make Lego bricks.
The printing process is similar to the operation of a hot-glue gun, beginning with solid thermoplastic pellets that are heated and then extruded in liquid form through a nozzle.
After months of preparation, which involved testing the viability of large-scale 3-D printing, the Strati came to life this month at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
All the printing, done on a printer about the size of a shipping container, was completed on-site in Chicago in 44 hours, with a team from Local Motors finishing the assembly by sanding and shaping the body for a better finish and by fitting the mechanical components to the body.
The car consists of fewer than 50 parts, Local Motors says, including a 45-kilowatt electric motor and transmission donated by Renault, along with headlights, taillights, wheels and a steering column bought from other manufacturers.
The Strati can reach speeds nearing 50 m.p.h. and travel up to 62 miles on a charge, the company says.
In all, Local Motors says it has spent less than $1 million to bring the Strati project to fruition, and it will invest more to streamline manufacturing. Early versions of the car will serve as low-speed runabouts, a vehicle class known as neighborhood electric vehicles.