By this time almost everyone has seen what purports to be the world’s first 3D printed car, the Strati. There have been many great innovations in the past. For instance the BMW GINA. However with Strati, we at INOPIAN are not so sure… Let’s start by saying that we congratulate Local Motors for their efforts in search of alternative methods in car-manufacture. A noble quest.
Now, let’s get down to what we actually “think” about the car itself. At first glance, it is awful to look at. Local Motors state that traditional automakers generate a lot of waste metal to produce a nice body-shell. They fail to mention that all waste metal is recycled because it`s expensive stuff. In the case of the Strati, the 3D printing technology makes lines and layers which when they dry leave lines on the body shell. So to support my point, it would be necessary to sand it all down to give a smooth surface and aerodynamics to the body which creates waste. So is it really so efficient?
Next thing is that Local Motors stated that they were able to reduce the thousands of parts from a normal vehicle down to only “dozens”. Of course it was easy to reduce some parts when you don’t even have doors. The real point however is that nowadays we require a certain level of comfort. The time when all you wanted and needed were pedals, a gear leaver and a steering wheel are long gone. The Strati has very little else, Spartan to say the least. So Spartan that even a Spartan wouldn`t be impressed, but yes, they were able to reduce the number of parts.
Local Motors also stated that it took only 44 hours to print and to build the car. For one 3D printer and only few mechanics, that is quite an achievement. Especially when you compare it to the actual “world’s first 3D printed car”, the Urbee. According to Business Insider: “Urbee took about 2500 hours to build just it’s body.” However, even here we can’t seem to find the efficiency because at Toyota it takes about 17-18 hours to make one car including: stamping, welding, painting, assembly and inspections. Admittedly this doesn’t include the time it takes to make the outsourced individual parts.
The Strati project also promises a great customization system. You would be able to design your own car. This is all very well but you would still have to go through the homologisation process and there is crash safety to think about. If you wanted a custom car, there are many small companies around the world that will happily make you one which would be safer and faster as well.
The engine used in the Strati is an electro-motor with 5 bhp or 17 bhp that can get you as far as 62 miles on full battery. Then you would have to charge it for 3-5 hours to get yourself back home. No doubt a more efficient motor would be used later giving a little more speed than 50 mph and some more range.
We accept that the Strati is a big leap into the possibilities of technology and how cars could be made in the future, but from an automotive perspective it is more of a leap backwards than forwards. Spartan cars went out of fashion a long time ago and only time and clever minds like the people at Local Motors will prove whether this step had any real benefit to the motor industry other than demonstrating technology.
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…my driving license was still on it's way when I had bought my first petrol-smelling Italian stallion... No, it wasn't a Ferrari... It was Fiat Regata, twin choke Weber 1.5 in neat condition with bad attitude. It wasn't in any way quick by today's standards nor was it a good handler. More like an SUV actually. It was so high that my girlfriend at the time, (a little taller than a bucket,) almost needed a ladder to get into it. However, it was a good car till the first winter came and I wrecked it.
My next car was a BMW E30 1987 2.4d. It is still my all-time favorite. It just had a black metallic paint job done when I bought it and shiny chrome bumpers. As Steel Panther would say say, "that car was bitchin'." I had nice Alpina alloys that I kept getting nicked for. Apparently they were not marked in my documents so each time the police caught me I got a fine.
After about a dozen fines in 3 months I said `sod it` and had BMW amend my documents. This one wasn't really quick off the mark but once it was up to speed you could throw it into any corner and it would come out still alive and pointing the right way. I sold it eventually because I didn't have the time to get it back to original condition and I later found out that the guy I sold it to wrecked it couple of months after. What a shame.
I also had a BMW E46. I liked the look of it but it was useless. It had so many problems one day I wished someone would run into me so I could get rid of it and get some money back. Guess what... a week later a Spanish fellow in a borrowed company Skoda ran up the boot and parked on my back seat. My girlfriend got a panic attack and became so furious she would have beaten him up if I`d let her. However, I had successfully gotten rid of the car.
So this is the story of my beginnings. There are two things that I love other than music and my family. Writing and cars. Why not combine them? I figured there may be more people like me and so I wanted to participate in this amazing opportunity for everyone to share their knowledge, experience and passion, and build something unique while doing it.