Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cutting-Edge 3D Printing, 3D Scanning and 3D Software Used in Design of Local Motors' Rally Fighter

I missed the opportunity to attend SolidWorks World 2011 a few months back, but those that did go came back excited about what they saw. One story that intrigued me enough to investigate further is that of Local Motors. I didn’t know anything about this company. As I searched the internet it became obvious that this company is different. Different product. Different business model. So different, in fact, that it would be difficult to explain accurately in a short blog posting. I encourage you to visit the links below and do your own search.

There is a definite “cool” factor being involved in cutting edge, emerging technologies like 3D printing. 3D printers, 3D scanners and 3D software are creativity tools. They help people be more creative, more efficiently. I’m not a hardcore car buff but I know a nice looking car when I see one, and my first thought when I saw Local Motors’ Rally Fighter was “Now That’s Cool.” As I dug further, I started to realize how this company was benefitting from using a community approach to design and technical challenges, and was also benefitting from cutting-edge creativity tools and design software.

At SolidWorks World 2011, Jon Hirschtick introduced Mike Pisani, Senior Vehicle Engineer and Head Builder Trainer for Local Motors, who described the process for redesigning standard parts to fit their specific needs. The process includes using a handheld ZScanner to accurately convert the part into 3D data, SolidWorks to modify that data and a Z Corp ZPrinter to prototype and verify those changes.

I mentioned in a previous blog how one of my favorite end uses for ZPrinted parts was the Pixar Zeotrope, but I think the Rally Fighter has moved up on my list of very cool end users.

You can hear Mike Pisani from Local Motors talk about how he uses this technology in a live Webcast on April 27 at 2 PM EDT:

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