The folks from Local Motors seem like the kind of people you just want to sit down with to talk about cars for hours. They seem to have such a diverse set of influences, whether they are building offroad sport trucks like the Rally Fighter or an electrically assisted drift trike like the Verrado. The company's latest project is to build a 3D-printed car, and to make it harder, it wants to complete the vehicle in just five days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, IL, in September. To get people excited about the undertaking, it outsourced the design in a contest among its community and recently announced the winners.

Out of over 200 entries, community voters and a panel of independent judges selected seven finalists for its 3D Printed Car Design Challenge that started in April. There was definitely a theme among the top designs of taking a minimalist approach for the 3D-printed car. Strati (pictured above), which combines the looks of sports car and a moon buggy, was selected by the judges as the overall winner. The feat nets creator Michele Anoé from Italy $5,000 and an invitation to IMTS in Chicago to see his concept exist in real life. The other six designers received $1,000 for having their work selected and mentioned.

Local Motors isn't going to Chicago with zero experience with its 3D-printed car. It's working on a prototype now so that it knows all of the hurdles before it gets to the Windy City. Scroll down to watch the video showcasing all seven finalists' concepts and check out the current state of the project. The official press release announcing the winner can also be read below.

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Local Motors Announces Winners of First-ever 3D-printed Car Design Challenge

Selected from more than 200 submitted concepts, the winning design will inspire the full-size Local Motors prototype vehicle that will be printed at IMTS in September 2014

Phoenix, AZ – June 5, 2014 – Local Motors, Inc. is excited to announce the winners of the first 3D Printed Car Design Challenge that was launched in April to uncover concepts that will inform and influence the vehicle that will be printed live at IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, September 8-13, 2014. More than 200 entries, representing submissions from 30+ countries around the globe, were submitted during the six-week challenge. After a weeklong voting period and review of all entries by an independent panel of expert judges, a total of seven designs were selected as winning concepts.

The winning concept, Strati, created by Michele Anoé of Italy, will highly inspire the full-size 3D printed prototype. "It's simple and clean, with character," says challenge judge and MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis. "It has a nice style that really hangs together." Lonnie Love, Group Leader, Robotics and Manufacturing Systems Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, adds, "Michele's design offers an excellent balance between innovation, complexity and practicality. It has good 3D lines and the retractable roof is really cool."

Michele will receive a $5,000 cash award for his submission and will be invited to see his concept manufactured live in AMT's Emerging Technology Center, Booth N-650, at the IMTS Show this September.

"There are three major challenges facing the auto industry today; part count, weight, and the initial cost of tooling when creating and iterating on vehicles. The hybrid Direct Digital Manufacturing process stands to address all three of these," said Jay Rogers, Local Motors CEO. "When these hurdles are removed, we open the door to an exciting new era in automotive design and manufacturing possibilities."

Six additional concepts were recognized for their innovation and popularity among the members of Local Motors' global community. Some aspects of these designs may also be incorporated into the final prototype. The designers of each of these concepts will receive a $1,000 cash award from Local Motors.

Internal Strut Frame

A favorite from the beginning, Internal Strut Frame has an innovative design that uses vertical struts to support the upper surfaces, saving weight and making a sturdy frame/ body. This concept was selected as the "community favorite" by members of Local Motors' global community.


Also employing an innovative use of vertical structures to support external surfaces, catering to the inability of current 3D printing process to bridge horizontal gaps, this multi-layer design was described as "very futuristic" by judge Douglas K. Woods, President, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. "This design really has the 'wow' factor, like something Batman or the Green Hornet would drive."


Creative structural supports – including the spine down the center – and a clean passenger compartment are defining elements of this concept. In his judges notes, Paul R. Warndorf, Vice President, Manufacturing Technology, AMT noted, "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 Supernova

The LM Supernova incorporates interior design elements that are not only innovative and well thought out, but highly functional and lightweight. This is a great example of using good design and engineering to create a truly innovative vehicle. According to Woods, "The Supernova looks tough and fast, like a Formula 1 racecar."


The Mirage took an innovation award for incorporating layers to create 3D Printed 'crumple zones', which is not only unique, but also very innovative. Taking into account how the technology could be used, the Mirage concept "is a great looking car, offering some solid suggestions for what can be achieved with additive manufacturing," said Rick Neff, Manager, Market Development for Cincinnati Incorporated.

LM e-Spider

"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," said AMT's Warndorf. The e-Spider's roof design and windshield connections, as well as the incorporation of shielding accessories to allow for use in severe weather, showed a great combination of innovation and practicality.

About the partnership with Local Motors and this endeavor to deliver the world's first 3D printed vehicle prototype, Peter R. Eelman, Vice President, Exhibitions & Communications, AMT had this to say, "This continues the legacy of Local Motors bringing disruptive technology to IMTS. We started this journey in 2010 when Jay Rogers appeared at AMT's Annual Meeting, and from that, a partnership emerged to build the Rally Fighter on the show floor at IMTS 2012. We are excited to showcase the winner's innovative design and demonstrate to the industry this new process of manufacturing a car with a substantial structure being 3D printed on-site in AMT's Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2014."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pretty cool designs, I stumbled upon a website yesterday which had some really cool 3D vehicle designs, especially I was impressed with the BMW i8 concept design
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let's see this plastic endure 100,000 miles of bumps, shakes, road rocks, wild temperature fluctuations, road salt, and other stuff that all other road-going cars have to endure before we celebrate how cool it sounds to have a 3d printed car.
        Julio B
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Before shutting down a project that you have not contributed anything to, let's celebrate that this is an innovative and unprecedented way of building a car and using ideas from people around the world. I read the article and watched the three videos and there wasn't a single mention of this ever going into production...
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julio B
          Julio.. agreed. The problem is the expectations of people. "Local Motors" is not really an 'automaker' in most common uses of the word. They are a custom autos shop. They do brilliant work... but they really are a different kind of business altogether.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julio B
          Lets celebrate the diversity! Ha Ha Ha Ha!
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It's just an experiment, probably to keep Local Motors in the automotive news. I don't think anyone involved is suggesting this will be a production vehicle suitable for the masses.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          I had a meeting a couple of months ago with a 3D printing sales rep who told me they can now print parts using stainless steel and titanium. Very impressive but probably too expensive for a project like this. He said they can't do aluminum yet due to the risk of the material igniting.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          But I agree with you, this is just a design exercise. Granted a pretty cool one!
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