3DPRINTUK 3D Prints Car Parts For Team Bath Racing
3D printing is now indispensable to the automotive industry. Most major companies, such as Nissan and Audi, have already turned to the technology to streamline their production, thanks in part to the time savings and cost reductions that additive manufacturing offers. Other companies, such as BMW and Ford, have even gone so far as to open a dedicated 3D printing center to accelerate part production. And partnerships between 3D printing and automotive players are growing. In the latest news coming out of the sector, 3DPRINTUK, a London-based 3D printing service, has partnered with Team Bath Racing (TBR), a team of student engineers competing in the Formula Student car race in the UK.
Although the UK-based company offers its technologies to a variety of industries, 3DPRINTUK has always had a preference for the automotive field. Using 3D technologies, the 3D printing service offers its customers and partners the opportunity to transform their manufacturing methods. On this topic, Conor Smith, a mechanical and automotive engineering undergraduate student who is part of TBR, explains, “3D Printing really is the most cost- and time-effective way of manufacturing complex parts. Other processes cost an order of magnitude more, and there are some parts on our car that we just wouldn’t be able to manufacture any other way (they are designed specifically for 3D printing). Also, for certain applications — particularly for prototyping — the speed of 3D printing means that we can turn things around in a few days, which really speeds up our design process.” Incidentally, in addition to 3D printing parts for TBR, the British company has also become one of the team’s sponsors.
3D printed components by 3DPRINTUK
To print various parts of the race car, 3DPRINTUK used HP Multi Jet Fusion technology and as well as SLS technolgoy. HP’s technology was used to print the car’s plenum, a large volume container that sits between the turbocharger and the engine’s air intake allowing the engine to draw in air as efficiently as possible. Printed in Nylon 12, the part has a complex geometry and a diameter of 250 mm x 150 mm. Using the SLS process, 3DPRINTUK manufactured various components on the front wing of the car. Also printed from Nylon 12, it took only one day to produce these parts. Conor Smith says that if the parts had been made using traditional methods, they would have had to use carbon fiber, and would have taken a minimum of five days to produce.
According to Team Bath Racing, the 3DPRNTUK printed parts have similar characteristics to traditional parts, especially in terms of strength and stiffness. They have also obtained good results during the test phases. As you can see, this partnership between automotive and additive manufacturing is far from being the first one, but like all the previous ones, it has paid off. It is proof that 3D printing and the automotive industry have a bright future ahead of them. You can find out more about Team Bath Racing and this collaboration on Team Bath Racing’s website HERE.
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*Thumbnail Photo Credits: 3DPRINTUK