For quite some time, many of us have desired our own cars to be smart, with the intelligence of the computer system being as important to some drivers as the style of the car. The recent creation of the self-driving buggy shows how far we will go to let vehicles do all the work, so it is no surprise that the concepts of 4D printing cars have been greeted with such enthusiasm.
4D printed cars with shape-shifting components and programmable materials may sound futuristic but with 3D printed cars now available to order and important steps being taken in 4D components, they may not actually be that far away. The 3D printed car is a reality in the form of the Strati from Local Motors. 3D printing parts for cars and other vehicles is nothing new but the creation of a fully 3D printed car exterior and chassis is something else – especially when creators and reporters have been able to drive the finished product around.
As many components as were possible of the body of this car were formed together in a digital design and printed out in a very large 3D printer from layer upon layer of carbon fibre composite beads. This formation is where the car gets its name – Strati being Italian for layered. From there they added the motor, suspension and other electronic parts from the Renault Twizy to create an electric-powered 3D printed car that could actually be driven and was showcased at the NAIAS conference in January. … (read more)