3DPRINTUK 3D prints car parts for Team Bath Racing
3D printing is now essential for the automotive industry. Most large companies, such as Nissan and Audi, have already turned to technology to streamline their production, in part thanks to the time savings and cost reductions that additive manufacturing offers. Other companies, like BMW and Ford, have even gone so far as to open a dedicated 3D printing center to speed up parts production. And partnerships between 3D printing and automotive players are multiplying. In the latest industry news, 3DPRINTUK, a London-based 3D printing service, has partnered up with Team Bath Racing (TBR), a team of engineering students participating 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, Conor Smith, an undergraduate mechanical and automotive engineering student who is part of TBR, explains, “3D printing is truly the cheapest and fastest way to manufacture complex parts. Other processes cost an order of magnitude more, and there are parts on our car that we just wouldn’t be able to manufacture otherwise (they are designed specifically for 3D printing). Also, for some applications, especially prototyping, the speed of 3D printing allows us to turn things around in a matter of days, which really speeds up our design process. Besides, in addition to 3D printing of parts for TBR, the British company has also become one of the team’s sponsors.
Components 3D printed by 3DPRINTUK
To print various parts of the racing car, 3DPRINTUK used HP Multi Jet Fusion technology as well as SLS technology. HP 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 suck in air as efficiently as possible. Printed in Nylon 12, the part has a complex geometry and a diameter of 250mm x 150mm. Using the SLS process, 3DPRINTUK manufactured various components on the front fender of the car. Also printed from Nylon 12, it only took a day to produce these parts. Conor Smith says if the parts had been made using traditional methods, they would have had to use carbon fiber and would have taken at least five days to produce.
According to Team Bath Racing, 3DPRNTUK printed parts have characteristics similar to traditional parts, especially in terms of strength and rigidity. They also obtained good results during the test phases. As you can see, this automotive and additive manufacturing partnership is far from the first, but like all the previous ones, it has paid off. This is proof that 3D printing and the automotive industry have a bright future ahead of them. You can read more about Team Bath Racing and this collaboration on the Team Bath Racing website HERE.
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* Miniature photo credits: 3DPRINTUK