Next Generation Lunch: Revealing the World’s First 3D Printed Car (text version)

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Below is the text version for the Next Generation Lunch: Revealing the World’s First 3D Printed Car Video.

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SPEAKER:  Ladies and gentleman, welcome and good afternoon. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Mark Johnson, U.S. Department of Energy.


DR. MARK JOHNSON:  Thank you all and once again, welcome to this year’s summit. I’m really excited about all of the discussions we are having. Lunch is obviously an important time when you really have those detailed discussions with people you wouldn’t run into every day, but its really the heart of bringing people together like this and it’s the importance of it. One of the dialogues that we have had over the past year about this is the importance of public/private partnerships. What I want to share with you today at lunch is the story about a very unique public/private partnership that we have run over the last year. It really highlights the spirit of what we are doing with the Council on Competitiveness, the Department of Energy and really looking at the national labs and how we can really highlight that we can do manufacturing; we can do partnerships with the private sector on this and really do great things as a result of it. So we stood up a unique partnership called The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, down at Oak Ridge National Labs, as a way to really highlight how we can move additive manufacturing out and take the great science we have in the national labs and really apply it to the problem of additive manufacturing. And it highlights three important parts of any public/private partnership. One is, you need really great technology. Advanced technology is at the heart of it. Second part is the people. The partnerships really, really at the heart of it is about getting great people, working together, and having them work together and really knocking down barriers about it. Then the third question is, can you set a really, really audacious goal and put a really tight timeline on that goal? And that is what we wound up doing.

So to give you a story about this, the Additive Manufacturing Facilities down in Oak Ridge National Labs, I encourage anyone who is here, interested in 3-D printing, to go to Knoxville and go down and visit the manufacturing demonstration facility. It is a really unique facility, it is growing and growing and growing as partnerships. And I want to recognize really quickly my partner in this is Craig Blue, who just has been a fantastic partner in terms of doing the work at the Additive Manufacturing Facility there. And that gets to the next point, is the people. It is about having people that are willing to engage with private sector and really draw in new ways of working together. But at the same time, having people that really highlight the importance of advanced technology, how you bring the science back to these advance technology problems that matter for manufacturing and solve something that matters and bring that together.

Now, the next step is, you take that science for the National Labs and bring it together, you need to broaden out the number of people that are aware of that technology. So Oak Ridge actually teamed up with the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor and put together a training program around additive manufacturing. They did this over the past few months and in fact, this summer we wound up piloting the first run of it and it was interesting that the folks that they targeted at this were two groups of people. One are students. People going through college right now, people going through graduate school early in their careers, just so that – you know, additive manufacturing is a completely new area, they are the ones that are going to invent and really change things going forward. The other group though, just as important, is the returning veterans. They highlighted working with veterans because in a new field like additive manufacturing, there is no existing curriculum out there. You say, what is the right training for people; it’s never been done before. But I guarantee you, the first 90% of the training that you would have is you would want people that work with very sophisticated equipment, have a high degree of responsibility and accountability and are mission oriented. That exactly describes our veterans.

So what they did is they wound up teaming up to pilot with a group of 25 veterans and ran them through a program this summer to give them the basics of additive manufacturing and wound up working where they had classroom work in the morning and the afternoon working in the manufacturing demonstration facility to get really hands on skill set out of it. It was a great partnership, I had the pleasure of going down to the graduation of this group this past month and we had a number of the veterans actually join us here today, I hope they will all stand up really quickly; they are sitting at the tables around the room.


Let’s give them a warm round of applause.


So I think Assistant Secretary Danielson said this morning, he was talking about once in a lifetime opportunities. We have this one in a generation or once in a lifetime opportunity right now with the returning veterans that we have to really inject that great leadership back into our manufacturing sector and I’m really pleased to be a part of that.

The other group of students that we work with at the Department of Energy, we have a program called the Industrial Assessment Centers. They heard Secretary Monese speak about where the students go out and they wind up working with small/medium sized manufacturers to try and improve energy productivity and energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector. These are at universities across the country and they wind up teaming up in your partnership. So we wanted you to meet a few of them here today as well, so we have a number of our IC students here. If you are in the room, please stand up.


So these are the next generation leaders for your factories, for your manufacturing facilities. They are going to ensure that your energy productivity and the latest and greatest technology winds up getting out into your facility, so I encourage you to meet them.

The third aspect of people, which is really important, is bringing together partnerships relative to new companies, small companies, existing companies, large companies, working together with our scientists. We established just this past year, literally this past winter, a series of [unintelligible] between Cincinnati, which is one of the longest standing machine tool manufacturers – they make stamping equipment – in the country. These people made the machine tools for Henry Ford. So it’s a long standing company. They said, we want to get into additive manufacturing and we want to get into additive manufacturing big. So they partnered up with Oak Ridge to really develop a new tool. This tool did not exist literally five months ago. So they have invented the tool.

Then we had a partnership we set up with Local Motors. A small company based out of Phoenix – they were based at Phoenix, I think the CEO is actually based somewhere in United Airways terminals, but they are all over the country right now and they are setting up these micro factories and having that Local Motors partnership with Oak Ridge. So the person who leads Local Motors you are going to wind up meeting in a few minutes, is Jay Rogers and he just exemplifies the kind of people we want to empower and want work with in this country. So if you look at his background, he is an engineer by training, a degree from Princeton. He then received his leadership training with the United States Marine Corps. Was an officer in the United States Marine Corps and served our country overseas on a number of tours. He came back to the U.S. and he said, I want to change how we manufacture. He got his business school and his entrepreneurship training at Harvard Business School. So he really has the best training and just exemplifies what we can do in this country. He came in and he helps us wind up setting, what is that big audacious goal? So this past March, he called up – there is a conference called the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, which was held this past week. He called them up this past March and said, we have this idea that we think we can print a car. People are saying, oh, a card, people have done that. He said, no, a car. And drive it. At your machine show. We want some space to be able to do this. Mind you, at the time, the tool didn’t exist, the design didn’t exist and the people were just starting to work together. Made the commitment and then what he really did was he issued the press release. As he likes to say, if you set yourself a one year timeline, it is probably going to take you two years. If you set a six month timeline, you probably are going to wind up making it because you don’t have any option to do anything other than that. So this was the big challenge. Can we design and print a car and do it very publicly in six months? So this is the story of Local Motors MDF, the Manufacturing Demonstration Facilities and Cincinnati working together to pull this off. So let me show you the story.


VIDEO NARRATOR:   Every day, the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the Department of Energy is working hard to build cooperative partnerships that accelerate innovation for American manufacturing.

In early 2014, AMO looked to its Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to collaborate on a revolutionary project that would display how 3-D printing has come of age. No longer just a tabletop novelty, 3-D printing has moved from prototypes to the real factory floor.

JAY ROGERS [ON VIDEO]:  The 3-D printed car project was really an outgrowth out of a team that was put together to take on a very difficult challenge.

LONNIE LOVE [ON VIDEO] :  This was a Manhattan style project. We had six months to develop a technology to print out a car.

ROB IVESTER [ON VIDEO]: We are seeing large scale additive manufacturing well beyond the scope and scale of anything that has ever been done before.

RICK NEFF [ON VIDEO]:   It’s been an incredibly fast pace of innovation. Normally a machine tool would take several years to develop.

CRAIG BLUE [ON VIDEO]:  This is probably the most aggressive time scale I have ever seen in the evolution of a new product.

VIDEO NARRATOR:  It’s hard to believe that by fall, this amazing team effort would succeed in designing an printing a working electric car.

LONNIE LOVE [ON VIDEO]: The main message of this project is we can be very, very fast. Six months to radically change how we manufacture cars. It shows the real benefit of having these public/private partnerships. So this project wouldn’t have been possible without AMO’s support.

CRAIG BLUE [ON VIDEO]:   And, this is a new entry of a U.S. based additive manufacturing company, so it’s a very exciting time.

VIDEO NARRATOR:  The industry partners were: Cincinnati Incorporated, a 115 year old industrial machine manufacturer in Ohio and Local Motors in Arizona. An innovative small manufacturer specializing in crowd source, design and engineering. The challenge was to develop a large scale additive manufacturing machine using carbon fiber reinforced plastic to print the car.

ROB IVESTER [ON VIDEO]:  By bringing the different partners together as part of the ecosystem, getting them all under one roof and working together as one team, we are going to see barriers to innovation dropping left and right.

JAY ROGERS [ON VIDEO]:  But it is a partnership that is based in risk taking.

VIDEO NARRATOR:   For all the participants in the September Manufacturing Demonstration, the significance of what happened live, layer by layer in front of tens of thousands of people in Chicago, cannot be overstated.

JAY ROGERS [ON VIDEO]:  This team understood that it was bigger than just 3-D printing. It was about direct digital manufacturing, so to them they were willing to combine the additive manufacturing that was being built on the Cincinnati machine and the subtractive manufacturing that is being done by the large scale router and the way in which we are putting these parts together from various component players, that whole ecosystem made it possible to make it on time.

ROB IVESTER [ON VIDEO] : I think this 3-D printed car project really demonstrates the beauty and the power of bringing together disport elements from a variety of domains.

RICK NEFF [ON VIDEO]: There is an incredible amount of technology and expertise involved in our national labs and our national labs are a really good way to get involved and bring that to small industry to help small business become more competitive.

CRAIG BLUE [ON VIDEO]:  This is rapid innovation; this is the way it should be done. 

VIDEO NARRATOR:  What is the true value of government investments in advanced manufacturing? A future for the sustainable, energy efficient, powered by innovation. And American made.

JAY ROGERS:  Thank you.  Thank you so much, this has been a huge team effort and you all are very kind to take pictures of what is the result of a massive, massive load of trust and there is going to be plenty of time this afternoon to take more pictures of the car.

Local Motors is a company that was built on the promise of changing the way that you move and that is all of you, that is all of us. And for me it was formed during my time in the U.S. Marine Corps. I have served with several of the people in this room and there are a number of us that I cannot say thank you enough to, because those are the people that did not come back from all the wars that we have fought together and I don’t mean just the last ones that have happened. There was a time for me in 2005 where I was deployed and talking to my wife and it was the moment that I started Local Motors. And that moment was based on the fact that she was filling up our SUV and I was missing the birth of second child, or looking like I was going to when I was on deployment. For me, that was one of those things where I thought, this is crazy. I really wanted to do something to honor the time and the service that all of the people who had spent with me, overseas, and to do something that could really honor what they had done. I decided to make a vehicle company and that vehicle company was based on the promise of rapidly changing innovation. So here we are today. Local Motors is a promise about changing the way that you move. I think what you see beside me is the first effort in fundamentally disrupting the energy intensity in manufacturing. I will make a stark statement, this car, this vehicle is not about the power train. It’s about the process. And we spend so much time thinking about miles per gallon and much less time thinking about the energy intensity and the way in which we manufacture and how that empowers change.

So we have to challenge manufacturing and that was the goal that I left the Marine Corps trying to do. Was to come in and say, is it possible to make manufacturing happening different, happen faster and to empower technology? We all know that the cell phones that I see so many – in fact I think there is probably no one in this room that doesn’t have a cell phone – is on a six month time scale. You can get a new one every six months with a new piece of technology. Why is it that we are on a six year time scale with vehicles?  It’s unacceptable and it needs to change. So in starting – what we looked at is we looked at the potential to disrupt that and we looked at it on a micro level. And then we looked at it on a macro level. On a micro level for us, what that meant is that in a factory, when you are constantly moving 20,000 parts around of a car, you can be so focused on the end result of fuel economy, but so much less focused on the massive complexity of the supply chain. We wanted to reduce that complexity and we wanted to put it down from 20,000 parts, down through 5,000 parts, all the way down to 50 parts. There are 49 parts in this car. That is an amazing accomplishment. But what it really means is that it means that its’ more simple to produce and therefore there is less moving around and it has a great chance to be much less energy intense. The other thing about this type of vehicle is that it is recyclable in a way many of our vehicles today are recyclable. But from a point of a view of a customer being able to go in and say, I don’t like the way my vehicle looks anymore – and trade in their car and remove the components and put on new components. When their family grows by one or two or four. God forbid the quadruplets. So to be able to do that has never been done before. It took changing the process of the way in which we design, build and sell. So from a micro level, bringing a new vehicle industry to the market was what my passion was about and I was able to do it with a community of people all over the world. So Local Motors was based on the promise of co-designing or co-creating with a community around the world. We have over 100,000 community members and 130 countries; the designer of this vehicle is an Italian young man named Michele Ano. He came to the United States for the first time to see this unveiled in Chicago last week. It was an amazing moment for him and the first thing he said was, “If Americans can put a man on the moon, Americans can be the first people to digitally manufacture a car.” Wow, give yourself a huge round of applause.


On a macro level, I think this is perhaps even more exciting from an energy perspective. What a process change like this direct digital manufacturing of a vehicle means is, it puts the power in the hands of island energy economies. Of local energy economies. It gives them an opportunity to be able to change their own destiny based on the local feed stocks that they have to be able not only to power the car with what their local resources are, but to be able to manufacture the car out of locally available resources. That is a brand new future for manufacturing and what it does is it empowers local living economies for people to keep jobs and to be able to keep competitiveness where they are. I think this is the first tremor in gone are the days of the Detroit’s and the Toyota Cities and the Munich’s and the other places like that, because it is going to bring design and engineering and sales and marketing back to local living economies. Fifty parts, it isn’t hat difficult to put together.

So it can’t happen without a team. I have mentioned a lot about our global community and I would be remiss if I didn’t stop and say, I was on a hunt for 18 months, looking for some way to radically reduce the parts that are going into a car. I walked into the manufacturing demonstration facility and I ran into Craig Blue’s group leader, Lonnie Love, and he was futzing around with this incredible machine that was deposing a lot of plastic very quickly and he’s one of the most intense engineers and believers in children and students that I have ever met. For those of you who have met him in this room, you will understand what I mean. And I walked up to the machine and I said, I have been looking for this machine. I said, let’s make a car together. And he said, let’s do it! That was the wrong thing for him to say. [laughter] Because I said, okay. So six months later we were on a quest and a huge credit goes to Tom Mason, the Director of the Oak Ridge National Lab. Tom had the time –


He had the time and the inclination to sit down with an entrepreneur and go after this crazy idea that we had no interest in the intellectual property in the car. We wanted to get to market faster. I was extremely enthusiastic about the way we had brought the P51 Mustang and the various pieces of equipment that we brought to the battlefield quickly, both in World War II and beyond and the rapid equipping force in the Army has done it again in these latest deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. I wanted to say, let’s put patents to the side and let’s put manufacturing to the front. That is what we are about. Get the ideas out faster and make your competitive advantages, not that Local Motors isn’t’ interested in making money, we are, we have investors, but make the competitive advantage speed to market. Speed to market. So Tom was willing to say, I will share in what we do at the Oak Ridge National Lab if you share publicly in what you do at Local Motors every step of the way. And that is what we have done. So this is not only the first direct digital manufactured car, it is the first one that has been done in the public eye, all the way through with the community of people. Because it’s about speed to market. If you want to know what speed to market is, when I walked in and met Lonnie Love, that was eight months ago. We signed the fastest cooperative research and development agreement that has probably ever been signed in the history of the lab. Six months later, from the time that we really hit the Go button, we drove this car off on stage this week and it is not a prototype. This is a rapid manufactured car and within 12 months you will see these cars available to customers on the road. That is our promise.


So just a few more notes. Unfortunately with great speed comes some things that fall off the tracks and shortly before we were about to go to the International Manufacturing and Technology show to debut this vehicle and they have been awesome partners with us, our partner at Cincinnati and our partner The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility said, we have a problem. The problem is that the DOE issues travel regs that slate where people are going to go 12 months in advance and we have never heard of a partnership that moved this fast. So we can’t send anybody from the lab to go to the show. Let’s fix those travel regs so that we can make sure that people from the show go.


The last thought that I have on this is, we are in a place which emphasizes the fact that this is truly about competitiveness and for me, competitiveness means that it gives the small guy a chance to compete on a level playing field with the big guy and it gives people that have great opportunities in their education, a great opportunity to display what they can do on a national or international stage. We have small companies all over this car. We have companies with great promise all over this car. Nanomech provides the fluids inside the vehicle and it is a company that is storming onto the stage in Formula One and all over, to be able to change the way in which not only we lubricate vehicles, but the way in which we build the structures that make these vehicles. We have companies like Thermowood that have come to do the machining of the vehicle to a very high degree of tolerance and when you get up close, you will be able to see that. A company like 1552 that did the wheels, X1 that 3-D printed a cast for diversion of these wheels and the list goes on. So beyond our primary partners, we have had so many people that have come in and helped us. Reno provided the first power train, I can guarantee it won’t be the last power train that goes into this vehicle, because we can make it as big as you want, as fast as you want, as small as you want and as slow as  you want. That is the promise of local manufacturing. So it’s about competitiveness, local competitiveness and I want to thank everybody for taking the time to listen to us. Please get a picture of the car. Get a picture with the car. It’s a piece of history and we expect it will be in your garage soon. Thank you very much.


DR. MARK JOHNSON:  So I guarantee everyone in this room – I’m incredibly excited about this project, it has been a great team to be a part of. The only challenge I had afterwards and Craig will attest to this, I walked up to him afterwards and said, “Okay, what’s next?”  So with that, I encourage you all, as we have next is the afternoon sessions, it’s going to be very exciting. Before you head back, please come up and look at the car and enjoy it. So thank you very much.