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Driving additive manufacturing

The worldÔÇÖs first car produced by additive manufacturing is to be driven away from the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014. With the first drive set to take place on 13 September at McCormick Place in Chicago, Local Motors, who are behind the project, will have spent six days printing and assembling the vehicle, called the Strati. While the mechanical parts ÔÇô such as the battery, motor, wiring, and suspension ÔÇô have come from a variety of sources, the car is to be printed in a single piece and a first of its kind.

ÔÇÿThis brand-new process disrupts the manufacturing status quo, changes the consumer experience, and proves that a car can be born in an entirely different way,ÔÇÖ said John Rogers, Jr., CEO of Local Motors.

This demo will double as the unveiling of laser system company Cincinnati IncorporatedÔÇÖs BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine which is being used to make the car can deposit 10 pounds of carbon fibre reinforced plastic per hour across a large enough area to print the main body of the vehicle. The company said in a press release that the BAAMÔÇÖs 2 x 4 x 0.87m build envelope can print components up to 10 times larger than currently producible and at speeds 200 to 500 times faster than existing additive machines.

The BAAM machine, the additive build process, as well as the complete assembly will all be on show for the entirety of the IMTS at the Association for Manufacturing TechnologyÔÇÖs (AMT's) Emerging Technology Centre (ETC).

ÔÇÿThe ETC was created to present manufacturing ÔÇÿtechnologies of the futureÔÇÖ from leading companies, universities, and government research labs,ÔÇÖ noted Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and communications, AMT. ÔÇÿThis feature returned IMTS to its roots as a forum where the latest technologies are first seen. This year is no exception, and we are confident that this will be the most exciting ETC effort yet.ÔÇÖ

The project uses the material science and advanced manufacturing techniques pioneered at the US Department of EnergyÔÇÖs (DOE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

ÔÇÿThis project represents the unique opportunity DOEÔÇÖs National Laboratory System offers to the industry, to collaborate in an open environment to deliver fast, innovative, manufacturing solutions,ÔÇÖ said Craig Blue, director of Advanced Manufacturing Program and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. ÔÇÿThese partnerships are pushing the envelope on emerging technologies, such as large scale additive manufacturing.ÔÇÖ 

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