Dec 4, 2015 | By Kira

In one fell swoop, 3D printing technology has officially made it into the annals television history alongside one of the most celebrated late night show personalities, and a legend amongst automotive enthusiasts. While most of us know Jay Leno as the silver-haired host of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the American comedian is also a hardcore car-lover—not only does he own approximately 286 vehicles (169 automobiles and 117 motorcycles), he’s a respected authority who can take them apart, build them back up, and offer advice on everything from restoring unique models to jet-powered hybrid technology. It comes as no surprise then, that he would be one of the first to jump into the 3D printing motorwagon, and feature the world’s first 3D printed car by Local Motors on his primetime television show, Jay Leno’s Garage.

Now, whether you’re a car enthusiast or not, Local Motors is a pretty big deal. Not only have they designed and created the world’s first road-ready line of 3D printed cars, they have recently announced that the LM3D Swim model will be the first commercially available 3D printed car, on sale as early as next year for just $53,000.

Jay Leno’s Garage, a popular automotive web series that grew to be an even more popular one-hour primetime television show aired every week on CNBC Prime, featured Local Motors in its fifth episode of this season, effectively bringing 3D printed automotive technology into the pop culture spotlight. The series covers all things automotive, including classic cars, super cars, restoration projects, and of course, the latest in automotive technology. Every episode is hosted by Jay Leno himself.

In the recently-aired episode, Leno talks to Local Motors CEO and co-founder, Jay Rogers, tests drives the 3D printed Strati, and even tries to smash a 3D printed plastic part with a hammer, though to no avail. “You can’t talk about the future of automobiles without talking to Jay Rogers,” said Leno as he introduced the beaming CEO.

Leno and Rogers cruising around in the electric powertrain mule

While discussing the future of autmobiles with Leno, Rogers described Local Motors’ process as “democratized innovation,” pointing to their co-creation methodology. While the customizable LM3D Swim will be manufactured mostly with 3D printing, the company will soon be naming an automotive partner for the production of the vehicle’s powertrain and chassis. Furthermore, the final design for the LM3D Swim was elected during the company’s Project Redacted design challenge, in which they invited influential designers to come up with completely unique blueprints for the car of the future. Not so coincidentally, Leno himself acted as celebrity judge during the Project Redacted challenge, using his car expertise to help select Washington-based Kevin Lo as the first-place winner.

After introducing the technology, it was time to give the viewers what they really wanted: Leno actually driving a 3D printed car. First off, Local Motors lent him their electric vehicle mule, based on the Rally Fighter Chassis. Next, Leno and Rogers took a pit stop in the garage to take a look at the materials used to make 3D printed cars. Since it is still a widespread misconception that 3D plastic parts are inherently weak, Rogers invited Leno to literally shatter that perception by taking a hammer to some 3D printed car parts. Even after taking a heavy beating, the parts showed no signs of damage.

Leno tries to break a 3D-printed fender with a hammer

Finally, the moment of truth: Leno stepped into the stylish and sexy 3D printed Strati—the first 3D printed car to be fully made and assembled in just six days. While Leno was able to take it for a spin around the block, remarking on what a great achievement it was that the car he was actually driving was truly 3D printed, there was one tiny hitch: Local Motors forgot to charge the electric battery. Despite having to be physically pushed back to the garage, the always-smiling host didn’t seem too put out.

Latest prototype of the 3D printed LM3D Swim

 “At Local Motors, we are hell-bent on revolutionizing manufacturing,” Rogers has said in the past. “Car manufacturers have been stamping parts the same way for more than 100 years. Now we have the technology to make the process and products better and faster by linking the online to the offline through DDM. This process will create better and safer products, and we are doing just that.”

Being featured on Jay Leno’s Garage is a huge boost for Local Motors in terms of being able to reach out to the automotive community and introduce their innovative and exciting vision for the 3D printed, road-ready vehicles of tomorrow. However for the team themselves, being able to talk to Leno in person and receive his esteemed feedback, and on camera no less, was no doubt a priceless experience that they’ll be watching and re-watching for some time to come.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Jill wrote at 5/22/2016 6:39:15 PM:

Watched this while on a recent plane ride. Very cool.

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