Often people use the phrases “make your dreams a reality” or “bring your ideas to life”, but today consumers can in fact bring their ideas to life. For several decades, average consumers have had the ability to envision ideas and create images on computers that could print on a traditional 2D printer. But recently, MakerBot, a printer manufacturer, has developed a 3D printer on which consumers can print 3D models of computer-generated designs they have produced. 3D printers are not a new technology–they have been around for a few decades. But they have only more recently have become more refined, smaller in size and available at more affordable price points, similar to the evolution of computers.
There are some in the automobile industry who believe that they can use 3D printers to print actual cars that consumers would be able to drive.
Local Motors, a Las Vegas-based company, has brought the first 3D print to life with the world’s first 3D printed car. The Nevada automaker expects to revolutionize the automobile industry with their most recent creation. Local Motors was founded by John “Jay” Rogers, a Harvard Business School MBA graduate, U.S. Army veteran and former U.S. Marine. Rogers’ dream was to build a car that would reduce or possibly eliminate the United States’ dependence on foreign oil imports. The rising cost of oil has resulted in several automakers increasing their production of more electric or hybrid vehicles to match consumer demand for those who do not want to continually head to the pumps to fill their gas tanks.
Crowdsourcing was one of the driving factors in developing the first 3D printed car. Local Motors used the input of its consumers to deliver the best possible product to those that would get behind the wheel of one of these revolutionary vehicles. Crowdsourcing is a valuable tool for any industry because it gauges the interests of its consumer so manufacturers can produce something that is tailored directly to consumer needs.
In recent years, 3D printing has taken off. While many manufacturers still use 3D printing strictly for models, Local Motors has shown that real objects that are practical for daily use can also be created. And when you can “print” a car, one can only imagine what is next.