The world’s first 3D printed car competition crowns (and prints) a winner

Back in April, online vehicle innovation company Local Motors set a challenge. It invited designers from across the globe to submit their concepts for 3D printable cars. The pick of the bunch would then be printed, live, at The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which takes place in Chicago, Illinois from September 8 – 13 this year.

Local Motors 3D printed car

Well, six weeks and 200 entries later, the independent panel has chosen its most excellent motor, while 5 other innovation awards and a community award have also been handed out.

So, without further ado…

  • The Judges’ Winner: Strati from Michele Anoe

3D printed car winner

The big winner is Italian designer Anoe, whose Strati model has bagged him a $5,000 cash price plus the pleasure of seeing the car created at IMTS. It comes with a main body that is printable in a single piece and removable seats that allow you to fully customise the interior’s colour and material.

3D printed car Strati

The judges said:

It has excellent balance between innovation, complexity and practicality. It has good 3D lines and the retractable roof is really cool.

  • The Community’s Winner: Internal Strut Frame from Taurusnut (Greg Thompson)

Internal Strut Frame

The Community voted for this innovative design, a 3D printable automobile that utilises vertical struts that supports its upper surface, a measure that makes the car both lighter and sturdier. This design is inspired by the internal structure of bird’s wing bones.

3D printed car

Taurusnut said:

The ISF is a study in creating a new generation of automobile that relies not on forms found within the conventional manufacturing processes but is rather a design that results solely from shapes that can only be created and produced through means of additive manufacturing and 3D printing techniques.

  • The Five Innovations Award Winners:

Aeroblade from iMan

Aeroblade 3D printed car

One of the most visually memorable entries was Aeroblade. Bedecked in razor sharp black and yellow and kitted out with a mean, brawny chasse, it resembles some kind of angry giant robot wasp on creatine. Conducting airflow through uniquely designed 3D blades, the vehicle is as innovative as it is attractive.

The judges said:

This design really has the ‘wow’ factor, like something Batman or the Green Hornet would drive.

3DPCX from Baunarsch

3D printed cars

Baunarsch’s design comprises two shapes, held together by a central spine, interconnecting bridges and structures.

The judges said:

By incorporating simplicity and innovation via smart design and smart deployment of vehicle features, the 3DPCX brings the openness of the road inside the vehicle.

LM e-Spider from Chavito

LM Spider 3D printed car

Key to Chavito’s design is the concept of minimising the weight as much as possible, which explains the sleek, bare-bones structure. Yet that is not to say the LM e-Spider is a lightweight – it also comes equipped with ground breaking accessories that shield the car from extreme weather conditions.

The judges said:

A tribute to the minimalist in all of us, the e-Spider merges the efficiency of a smart car with the effectiveness of a desert dune buggy.

The MIRAGE from velocityopen

MIRAGE 3D printed car

While all the award-winning models utilised 3D printing in innovative ways, The MIRAGE is arguably the one that used it in the most inventive fashion. The sculptured, multi-layered 3D printed body absorbs energy, while multi-material print techniques are utilised to add layers of soft rubber on top of hard plastic, maximising safety for the passenger.

velocityopen said:

The MIRAGE is a culmination of elements that work to provide not just technical performance, but also elicits an emotional response from the user.

LM Supernova from sebastian.dib10

LM Supernova

As you would guess from the name, sebastian.dib10 took inspiration from the unpredictable, explosive nature of the supernova, where chaos leads to some sort of order.

The judges said:

The Supernova looks tough and fast, like a Formula 1 race car.

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