Not only do 3D printed parts improve the aesthetics of automotives but the performance as well.
This was proved to be a fact through the automotive competitions that were held in Europe this summer. The amazing benefits of 3D printing in designing automotives were first seen at the Shell Eco-Marathon competition.
This annual competition is meant to challenge students to drive the most energy efficient car that they have designed and fabricated on their own. The focus of this competition often is to see just how far various teams of students can drive with the least amount of fuel.
This year, the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe competition was held in July where a team of bright students called the ‘Iron Warriors’ were able to use 3D printing technology to design a car that went for a whopping 640Km on a single litre of fuel. One of the outstanding factors about the vehicle that this team used was that it was extremely lightweight, something that the team believes contributed to their excellent performance.
Szymon Madziara, one of the members of the Iron Warriors team, explains that 3D printing technology helped them to a great extent to reduce the mass of their final vehicle design. He pointed out that a 3D Printed Gear which is part of the propulsion transmission was found to be durable yet three times lighter than if they had used aluminium.
Madziara also adds that for those parts of the vehicle that would need to be carrying heavy loads, they simply 3D printed them and then covered them with carbon fibre to ensure that their sturdiness was not compromised. So in effect, 3D printing enabled the team to keep the weight of the vehicle as low as possible while at the same time allowing them to use parts that were durable enough and fit for their vehicle. And from their performance in Rotterdam, their strategy undoubtedly worked.
According to Madziara, due to the fantastic results they experienced his team now hopes to design a 3D printed vehicle in future that would go for 1,000 kilometres on a single litre of fuel.
The Formula Student
Just a week after the Shell Eco-Marathon competition, all the teams moved to UK for the Formula Student; which is the world’s largest motorsport student event. The event was taking place at the famous Silverstone Track. At the Formula Student competition, engineering students are given the challenge to design, build and race a car all within the same year.
The KU e-racing team of Kingston University has for the last two years taken the first position thanks to their electric design. This year they were determined to take the first place again. Did they manage to win? Yes. How did they do it? Well, surprisingly; the KU e-racing team also took advantage of the perks of 3D printing as well.
To start with, the team first 3D printed a model of their design using the Zortrax M200 Printer that they used to test their concept on a wind tunnel. This exercise was crucial to the team because they wanted to test the air resistance of their model as the results of this test would give them vital information on how to finally design their vehicle.
The results of the test enabled the KU e-racing team to maximize the down force of the vehicle, improve its aerodynamic properties and to some level the test also helped the team to ensure that the car had better handling as well as being Environmentally Friendly. Krzysztof Hockuba, a KU e-racing team member, discloses that their final design had a number of 3D printed parts including cockpit components, the pedals and a housing for telemetry devices.
Needless to say, the KU e-Racing team from Kingston University came first place among the UK electric teams in the Formula Student Business Event Class 1.
What do these Teams have in Common?
For starters, both teams used the Zortrax M200 3D printer to create and design their vehicles. Karolina Boladz the COO of Zortrax when asked for her opinion about the competitions said that the company has noticed a recent trend, where many Schools and Universities are showing more and more interest in 3D printing technology. For that reason, Zortrax has decided to provide them with Zortrax 3D printing machines to support their creative fabrications and designs.
Additionally, both the KU e-racing team and Iron Warriors used 3D printed parts on their vehicle designs to keep the mass of their cars down and enhance performance. The two teams proved that 3D Printed Parts could be used in vehicles without compromising on the robustness of the parts. What’s more is that 3D printing gave the vehicles of both teams beautiful and dazzling aesthetics.
If you enjoyed reading this article then please Like and Share it with your friends, then take a look at the Worlds First 3D Printed Car. Feel free to leave a Comment too.