The sale of two Cincinnati Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) systems to Phoenix-based Local Motors is set to revolutionize automotive production. CI accelerated the advancement of additive manufacturing back in 2014 with the rollout of the first BAAM system, and has set forth on this unique initiative with Local Motors to design, develop and distribute vehicles in unconventional ways.
“We worked with CI early in the development of BAAM and were one of the initial purchasers of the machine,” said Elle Shelley, Chief Marketing Officer for Local Motors. “We knew in short order that BAAM could provide the right platform for the microfactory concept.”
Each Local Motors Microfactory is the result of unique partnerships with local businesses, governments and global charter partners that create sites to work in tandem with the communities they serve. “Ultimately, we will create relevant vehicles tailored to the needs of specific markets, all printed on the BAAM,” added Shelley.
Highway-ready, 3D-printed cars, premium off-road vehicles with on-road capability and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles will all be manufactured at the 40,000 square foot microfactories, each with an output of up to 250 cars per year. Customers will visit the microfactory to design and purchase their vehicle, which is then produced on site. Local Motors will open 100 Microfactories around the world in the next 10 years, two of which are currently serving the communities of Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV. Two additional sites will open this summer in Knoxville, TN and National Harbor, MD.
Engaging communities to facilitate innovation and empowering designers are driving forces at Local Motors. This prompted the inclusion of lab space for designers to work on their projects within the microfactories, and resulted in development of the Co-creation and Build programs. Co-creation is implemented when designers, engineers, fabricators and enthusiasts use the Local Motors website to submit their ideas and receive feedback to help develop their designs. The Build Program continues the collaborative spirit with its immersive experience of consumer built vehicles. Microfactories will also be outfitted to service all Local Motors vehicles.
Most notably known for printing the car that took a historic ride around McCormick Place at IMTS 2014, BAAM offers significant manufacturing capabilities to a wide range of industries including automotive, aerospace, appliance and robotics. It boasts a work envelope of up to 2.4 x 6 x 2 m (8 x 20 x 6 ft) and the large-scale additive machine uses the chassis, drives and control of Cincinnati’s laser cutting system as the base. BAAM is linear motor-driven and extrudes hot thermoplastic to build parts layer by layer at speeds 200 to 500 times faster, and up to 10 times larger than existing additive machines.