There seems to be a great deal of interest among the motorsport industry towards 3D printing. Back in June, NASCAR revealed that they had used 3D printing to help them solve an electrical problem within their vehicles. Additionally, the Red Bull Formula One Racing team, last month, revealed that 3D printing played an important role in testing out potential new parts for their vehicles, and that they had plans to expand the uses of the technology in the near future.
Today, it was revealed that Nissan Motorsports (Nismo) has been using additive manufacturing technology in order to both build prototypes of new parts, as well as directly manufacture parts which are currently on several of their V8 super cars. Through a partnership with an Australian company named evok3D, this has all been made possible.
At the start of the 2014 season, evok3D created an in-house 3D printing center at the Nissan Motorsports race shop, where they run their own 3D printers within the Nismo facility. These printers include 3D Systems’ ProJet 660Pro, and ProJet 3500 HDmax machines.
It’s fairly common to see companies utilize additive manufacturing for the prototyping of parts, and it especially suits the racing scene quite well, where ever-so-slight changes to the shape or dynamics of a part could mean the difference between winning and losing a race. What surprised me the most, however, was the fact that Nissan Motorsports actually printed end-use parts for their vehicles.
“Actually parts we produce go on the car, like the driver cooling system for instance,” explained. Chief designer at Nissan Motorsports, Perry Kapper. “It’s a fantastic partnership (with evok3d0 and it gives us a multitude of capabilities for really quickly producing parts that we need.”
There are actually two different 3D printed parts which the company has been using within their race vehicles. The first, as mentioned by Kapper is a a fan housing which has dual purposes, and a built-in switch , which could not have been manufactured in any other way. The second piece is a trumpet part for the intake system of the vehicles.
“The thing with 3D printing, is it’s about low to medium volume bespoke parts, so that applies to many different industries. Obviously motorsports, where you are looking for a competitive edge and you need to develope cutting edge products, usually in a tight time frame, is a good application,” stated evok3d founder and Managing Director Joe Carmody.
It’s interesting to watch as various industries begin to find actual end-use applications for the technology, which they have traditionally used for prototyping only. It’s just a matter of time before this business blueprint spreads to other industries as well. Let’s hear your thoughts on the use of 3D printing within motorsports in the Nissan Motorsports forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below for further details on this story.
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