Earlier this year, Autodeskannounced plans to introduce Spark, a new open platform for 3D printing, aimed at making it simpler and more reliable to print 3D models and easier to control how that model is printed. Now, Autodesk is collaborating with Local Motors, the leader in open-source hardware innovation, to utilize the Spark platform.
Local Motors continues to develop the Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car. “The Spark platform is set to accelerate manufacturing innovation,” said Alex Fiechter, head of community management for Local Motors. “From capturing our ideas more accurately to guiding Design for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM) and simplifying the creation of machine code, Spark will help us to turn digital models into an actual physical production parts far faster than was previously possible.”
The recently unveiled Strati is being developed by Local Motors team at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of the nation’s leading innovation centers around additive manufacturing. The Strati vehicle design was chosen from entries submitted by Local Motors’ global co-creation community and as the project progresses Local Motors plans to use the Spark platform, which will make it the first large-scale industrial application of Spark.
“Local Motors recognizes the capabilities of the Spark platform for industrial manufacturing projects,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Autodesk. “This collaboration is a natural fit to push the boundaries of large format 3D printing to fundamentally change how things are designed and made.”
ORNL and Cincinnati Incorporated created a BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine similar to a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer by taking a 6.5’ x 13’ foot bed laser cutter adding custom hardware to transform it into a massive 3D printer. Spark will help connect automobile digital design information to the 3D printer in a streamlined way for easier visualization and optimization of 3D prints.
According to Local Motors, the Strati simplifies the automotive assembly process and is a result of leveraging the contributions of community, advanced manufacturing tools, and software, like the Spark platform. This could bring many advantages, including reduction in by decreasing the number of parts in a vehicle’s Bill of Materials (BOM) from 25,000 components to less than 50. The on-demand nature of 3D printing means that automotive manufacturers can change aspects of their design—or even come up with an entirely new one—with little or no additional cost in tooling or time.