(And One Bus)

16 Coolest 3D Printed Cars In The World (Right Now)

3d printed car

Produced in ever growing numbers, the 3D printed car is here to stay. Here's 16 of the coolest 3D printed cars in the world right now.

Imagine walking into a car dealership to design a car, and a giant onsite machine fabricates your custom 3D printed car on the spot. It’s an interesting prospect, but one we’re unlikely to see for years to come.

However, the 3D printed car is already a reality. Here’s 16 of the coolest examples out there that are 3D printed, or contain 3D printed parts.

16 Coolest 3D Printed Cars In The World (Right Now)

3D Printed Car Manufacturer Technology Status
Delage Type-S n/a Binder Jetting Restoration
4ekolka Petr Chládek Unknown Physical Prototype
Daihatsu Copen Daihatsu FDM Production Model
Kia Telluride Kia Unknown Physical Concept
Micro Commuter Honda/Kabuku FDM Physical Concept
Elvis' BMW 507 BMW Unknown Restoration
Shelby Cobra Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) FDM Functional Concept
Strati Local Motors FDM Functional Concept
Blade Divergent3D SLM Functional Concept
Light Cocoon EDAG SLM Physical Concept
Lotus 340r CIDEAS SLA, SLS, FDM Functional Concept
GENESIS EDAG SLS Physical Concept
LM3D Local Motors FDM Functional Models in Beta Testing
Soulmate EDAG SLM, SLS Physical Concept
StreetScooter C-16 Aachen University Polyjet Functional Prototype
Urbee KOR Ecologic Polyjet Functional Prototype

3D Printed Car #1: Delage Type-S Delage Type-S

Once rocking the raceways of turn of the century grands prix, this 103-year-old Delage Type-S miraculously still runs today. And it is all thanks to modern additive manufacturing technologies.

A crack in the engine block threatened its road-worthiness in 2014, but a detailed scan of what would be impossible to replace yielded a 3D model that could be printed as a sand mold for recasting. Recast at an iron foundry, the factory-fresh engine block now sits pretty beneath the hood.

We’re stretching it a bit to say this is a 3D printed car, but without 3D printing and scanning tech, it would’ve been near impossible to manufacture a replacement part.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: n/a

3D Printing Technology: Binder Jetting

Status: Restoration

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3D Printed Car #2: 4ekolka

Designed to serve as an efficient, two-person city car, the 4ekolka makes use of 3D printing to drastically reduce its weight, and therefore economy.

Designer Petr Chladek took issue with the current state of transportation in cities, and set about remedying it. The result is an agile, all-electric 3D printed car that wouldn’t look too out of place on the roads today — if fighter jet-style cockpits are your thing.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Petr Chládek

3D Printing Technology: Unknown

Status: Physical Prototype

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3D Printed Car #3: Daihatsu Copen

Daihatsu’s Copen — a two-seater roadster that you can actually head to a dealer and buy — makes use of 3D printing for elements of its bodywork. A design choice to give customers personalization options, the company turned to Stratasys to facilitate the idea.

In essence the 3D printed parts are decorative Effect Skins, fabricated from ASA thermoplastic. Offering many different patterned skins — that customers can alter — the company offers the most attainable 3D printed car on this list.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Daihatsu

3D Printing Technology: FDM

Status: Production Model

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3D Printed Car #4: Kia Telluride Kia's 3D-Print-loving car (Image: Kia)

Aimed at the luxury end of the spectrum, Kia’s conceptual crack at the 3D printed car looks like a challenger to the likes of Range Rover and its popular city tractors.

Sadly only a concept for now, South Korean automaker Kia’s Telluride features a 3D printed dashboard, door panels and steering wheel.

3D Printed Car ManufacturerKia

3D Printing Technology: Unknown

Status: Physical Concept

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3D Printed Car #5: Micro Commuter 3D printed cars Honda Micro Commmuter

This neat little micro-van from Honda boasts a lightweight frame and almost entirely 3D printed bodywork.

Made possible by Japanese 3D printing company Kabuku, this 3D printed car is the result of a company called Toshimaya. The firm posed the issues of being unable to tackle narrow country roads for their home deliveries in an economical way.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Honda/Kabuku

3D Printing Technology: FDM

Status: Physical Concept

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3D Printed Car #6: Elvis' BMW 507

Discovered in a pumpkin storage barn and meticulously restored by BMW Group Classic, this insanely rare BMW roadster once belonged to the King of Rock’n’Roll.

When found, the car was in a pretty sorry state, so the bods at BMW turned to a variety of manufacturing methods to restore the 507 to good-as-new condition. Part of this process included 3D printing, with the door handles and window winders additively manufactured.

Chances are this is the most highly sought after 3D printed car on this list.

3D Printed Car ManufacturerBMW

3D Printing Technology: Unknown

Status: Restoration

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3D Printed Car #7: Shelby Cobra

This custom 3D printed car was developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To print it, they used the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine from Cincinnati Incorporated — a 3D printer capable of huge, strong and lightweight composite parts without the need for tooling.

Loaded with experimental technologies, the 3D printed car is pretty much a laboratory on wheels. Additive manufacturing allowed the researchers to iterate quickly when equipping the Shelby Cobra with new tech.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL)

3D Printing Technology: FDM

Status: Functional Concept (and on tour — you can check the tour dates on the link above)

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3D Printed Car #8: Strati

It’s fair to say the Strati is probably the most iconic 3D printed car. It was created by Local Motors, an open-source think tank for engineering, mobility and design.

The team behind it asked themselves a number of questions of of the modern car’s production and processes — chiefly, how could they reduce the number of parts and investment cost for production.

The resulting 3D printed car, “Strati” was manufactured in just 44 hours. A number of non-3D printed parts feature, such as wheels, battery and the like, but — looking at the picture above — the Strati’s bodywork is obviously 3D printed.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Local Motors

3D Printing Technology: FDM

Status: Functional Concept

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3D Printed Car #9: Blade

The Blade sure is a looker. Creator Divergent 3D provides a disruptive new approach to car manufacturing, incorporating 3D printed nodes connected by carbon fiber tubing into the chassis.

This system results in industrial strength frame that can be assembled in a matter of minutes.

Thanks to its super-strong, lightweight innards, the Blade boasts better power-to-weight ratio than current Formula 1 racing cars.

But Divergent 3D’s grand plan for the 3D printed car doesn’t stop with a two-seater street rocket. Their goal is to make any 3D printed car up to 90% lighter in an industry transition they refer to as “car dematerialization”.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Divergent 3D

3D Printing Technology: SLM (Selective laser melting)

Status: Functional Concept

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3D Printed Car #10: Light Cocoon

German engineering design studio EDAG has been experimenting heavily with 3D printing and generative design. Presented at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the “EDAG Light Cocoon” uses lessons learned from nature to inform its design.

Its leaf-like outer skin uses Jack Wolfskin stretchy fabric to cover a topologically optimized 3D printed structure beneath. Lightweight beyond belief, this bodywork measures out at a silly 19 grams per square meter.

Cool back-lighting plays up the organically inspired design, giving this 3D printed car a skeletal look.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLM (Selective laser melting)

Status: Physical Concept

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3D Printed Car #11: Lotus 340r

Widely considered one of the best “drivers’ cars” in existence, the Lotus 340r is something of a rarity these days. Only 340 were produced during its short production run between 1999 and 2000.

For being so relatively young (compared to, say, the Delage Type S above) for a collector’s car, spare parts are near impossible to source. Add to this the fact that very few auto manufacturers used solid modelling software pre-2002, maintaining a 340r is a tricky business.

Looking to demonstrate the possibilities of its expertise in such a scenario, 3D printing service CIDEAS created its own models of parts of the Lotus using 3D scanning. Using its array of SLA, FDM and SLS machines to print them, the result is a track-ready Lotus 340r 3D printed car with a host of replacement parts ready to swap out.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: CIDEAS

3D Printing Technology: SLA, SLS, FDM

Status: Functional Concept

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3D Printed Car #12: GENESIS

Not strictly a car, as much as a conceptual direction. Using the bionic signature of a turtle’s shell for its design, German automotive engineering company EDAG’s GENESIS introduces the notion of musculoskeletal systems to passenger safety in a car.

In essence, the idea is that the turtle benefits from millions of years of evolution in their protective shell. This structure grows naturally, and would not be possible to recreate using traditional man-made tools (can you guess where this is going?).

In steps additive manufacturing, allowing for complex geometries and an automotive application for turtle shell-like designs for passenger cells and the like. The benefit of such a process means optimized structures that perform admirably in crash scenarios.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLS (Selective laser sintering)

Status: Physical Concept

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3D Printed Car #13: LM3D

When Local Motors made the headlines in 2014 with the mostly 3D printed Strati, many people dismissed it as a publicity stunt. However, a year later the company lifted the lid on the difficult second album: the LM3D.

The most interesting aspect of the project however, is not its roadster looks. It is how community driven it appears to be.

Crowdsourcing development challenges, and incorporating community feedback into the final products created in the company’s microfactories, you could say the end result is a 3D printed car by the people, for the people.

LM’s goal is to consolidate as much of the traditional bill of materials into a single, 3D printed piece. Eventually 90% of the car could be 3D printed. The collaborative design company is continually testing new types of materials and different blends for additive manufacturing.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Local Motors

3D Printing Technology: FDM

Status: Functional Models (in beta testing)

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3D Printed Car #14: Soulmate

At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, EDAG presented the successor to its Light Cocoon 3D printed car concept. EDAG’s development specialists worked with Bosch engineers to create an automobile that touts advanced networking and lightweight design.

Unlike it’s predecessor, the Soulmate places strong emphasis on the “internet of things”, glimpsing an interconnection of apps and services accessible from your car that, to be honest, we’re already beginning to see in the likes of BMW’s companion app for its i cars.

Still, it looks cool, and much like the Light Cocoon, features a lightweight structure that is 3D printed.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: EDAG

3D Printing Technology: SLM (Selective laser melting) , SLS (Selective laser sintering)

Status: Physical Concept

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3D Printed Car #15: StreetScooter C-16

Although it was somewhat overshadowed by the almost concomitant laugh of the Strati, the StreetScooter C16 Short Distance Vehicle is possibly the most versatile four wheeled mobility system ever made.

A prototype 3D printed car, it was built by the Production of Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) team at Aachen University and spun out into a dedicated company developing such solutions. They used a Stratasys Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System to print parts in tough ABS plastic.

3D Printing was used for all of the vehicle’s exterior plastic parts, including the large front and back panels, door panels, bumper systems, side skirts, wheel arches, lamp masks, and a few interior components, such as the retainer instrument board and a host of smaller components.

The C-16 lay the groundwork for small economical delivery vans. StreetScooter was bought up by Deutsche Post to develop electric postal delivery vans which are an evolution of the C-16.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Aachen University

3D Printing Technology: Polyjet

Status: Functional Prototype

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3D Printed Car #16: Urbee

The Urbee began as a small project to design an environmentally sustainable car capable of a rather ambitious feat. It needed to be capable of taking 2 people and a dog from New York to San Francisco using only 10 gallons of bio-fuel.

The entire shell is 3D printed, with Stratasys providing the technology to make it so.

The successor to this project, the Urbee 2, promises similar environmental friendliness, but with the interior 3D printed too.

Picking through the project page, we get the impression not a lot is happening though. The last update on the project was in 2013. Perhaps we’ll be waiting indefinitely for the entirely 3D printed Urbee.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: KOR Ecologic

3D Printing Technology: Polyjet

Status: Functional Prototype

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BONUS: 3D Printed Bus: Olli

3D Printed Autonomous Bus, Olli (Image: Local Motors)
3D Printed Autonomous Bus, Olli (Image: Local Motors)

Technically, this is no 3D printed car, but a 3D printed bus that can transport up to 12 people. It is probably one of the most sophisticated 3D printed automobiles ever to hit the road.

Developed by Local Motors, the “Olli” is an electric, driverless and extremely smart 3D printed bus. As with Local Motors’ other car projects, most of the parts are made in microfactories with a turnaround time of approximately 10 hours.

Olli uses IBM Watson’s “Watson Internet of Things for Automotive”. The brain of the 3D printed bus, IBM Watson is a cognitive learning platform that analyzes all sorts of data for Olli. Using natural language recognition, the 3D printed bus will understand and answer passengers’ questions about the bus, technology, or the area.

Olli is already on the road and being purchased. Las Vegas bought two of the vehicles, and Miami-Dade County in the US is looking into a pilot program in a similar vein.

3D Printed Car Manufacturer: Local Motors

3D Printing Technology: Polyjet

Status: Functional Prototype (already in use)