Sep 15, 2014

Earlier this year, Autodesk announced 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 actually printed.

Over the last months Autodesk has been working with hardware manufacturers to integrate the Spark platform with their 3D printers. Now, Autodesk announced that it is collaborating with Local Motors to utilize the Spark platform as Local Motors continues to develop the Strati, its first 3D printed car. Local Motors made history last weekend when their 3D-printed car, Strati, drove out of McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

"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."

Local Motors' project has become the first large-scale industrial application of Spark. Its Strati is being printed by 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 advanced manufacturing tools, and software, like the Spark platform 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.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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