Autodesk and Local Motors collaborate on first industrial application of Spark, the open 3D printing platform to solve challenges in large format 3D printing (Photo: Business Wire)
Autodesk’s big 3D printing news story this year was the announcement of Spark, a new open platform for 3D printing, aimed at making it simpler, more reliable and easier to control printing of 3D models. After the success of Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car, which drove off the exhibition floor at the International Manufacturing Technology Show last week, Autodesk has set its sights on collaborating with the team at Local Motors.
Based on a design submitted by Local Motors’ co-creation community, the Strati is being developed by the Local Motors’ team at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Library. They plan to use the Spark platform, which will make it the first large-scale industrial application of Spark.
“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.”
ORNL and Cincinnati Incorporated created a BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) machine similar to a fused deposition modelling (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 visualisation and optimisation of 3D prints.
By utilising the contributions of a platform like Spark, the Strati shows the possibilities of simplifying the automotive assembly process with advantages including a reduced number of parts and the ability to change aspects of design due to the on demand nature and low tooling and time limitations.
“Local Motors recognises the capabilities of the Spark platform for industrial manufacturing projects,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Autodesk. “This collaboration is a natural fit to push the boundaries of large format 3D printing to fundamentally change how things are designed and made.”