As evidenced by what we learned at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 earlier this month, prototyping is back in the 3D printing spotlight; it is, after all, the original purpose for 3D printing. While it may not seem quite as flashy as going from the print bed right to production, prototyping is still, over three decades after 3D printing was invented, the largest application for 3D printing technologies, be it parking sensors or wristwatches. The technology is also increasingly seeing applications in the automotive industry, including for high-powered supercars. Polish sports car manufacturer Arrinera Technology is certainly on board with 3D printed prototypes: for the last year, it has been using the on-demand Printroom services of industrial 3D printer manufacturer OMNI3D, also based in Poland and well-known for its giant industrial 3D printer, the Factory 2.0.OMNI3D prints full-scale models, mostly out of ABS-42, of air vents, mirror caps, and other parts for Arrinera’s Hussarya supercar. The parts are used as functional prototypes as well as sometimes as final parts. Arrinera engineers were searching for a better solution to optimize prototyping of the car parts, because, as we know, traditional production methods cost more and take longer to develop, especially when the parts being manufactured have complex geometries. The design process the engineers were using before caused them to have to create several prototypes of just one part, due to continuing improvement of the manufactured elements.
“Detail production on a 3D printer significantly accelerates the work of our R&D team and reduces production time and costs,” said Łukasz Tomkiewicz, president of Arrinera Technology S.A. “Frequent changes to a model’s shape – the diameter or length – are not as problematic as they used to be. A new model can be printed in just over twelve hours.”
Arrinera is no stranger to prototyping – two Polish brothers established the company in 2008, first to investigate the global market for supercars, and second to create the framework for its own, and went through a couple of prototypes, starting with a proof-of-concept vehicle, before creating its first functional GT-class race car. The Hussarya is built from composite material, mainly Kevlar and carbon fiber.Arrinera Technology S.S. is focused on developing new technologies related to active aerodynamics, composites, and electronics. The aerodynamics team is headed by Professor Janusz Piechna, from Warsaw Polytechnic‘s Power and Aeronautical Engineering department. Wind tunnel testing of the Hussarya, at MIRA in the UK, supported detailed CFD analysis by the aerodynamics team, whose goal was high-speed stability and extreme downforce. The manufacturer obviously wants only the best when it comes to the supercar. OMNI3D, which offers consulting services, maintenance, and free workshops, also provides high-quality 3D printing services, as its professional customers expect the 3D printed parts to be extremely durable. Its Printroom services specialize in large-format FFF 3D printing on its Factory 2.0 Production System, which is able to print large components (up to 500 mm in each axis) of thermoplastic materials, ranging from HIPS-20, ASA-39, and PET-G-32 to ABS-42 and PC-ABS-47.
“We opened the Printroom as a result of observing market needs,” said Krzysztof Kardach, Chief Technologist at OMNI3D. “Many of our customers before making a final purchase decision about Factory 2.0, asks us for test prints. Others, like Arrinera don’t want to invest in their own machine, but still need professional 3D prints. There are also companies that have big needs for 3D printing, but prefer to trust experienced 3D printing technologists from our company.”
OMNI3D’s printing systems are targeted for manufacturing tools and equipment, producing spare parts, and rapid prototyping.
“Parts printed in 3D on Factory 2.0 Production System meet all of our requirements – both in terms of strength, dimensional accuracy and turnaround time,” said Tomkiewicz. “Some elements, such as air vents are even installed in the car as the final product.”
The Arrinera Hussarya GT3 can be pre-ordered on the Arrinera website. To get a quick look at an air vent being 3D printed on the Factory 2.0, take a look at this video:
Discuss in the Arrinera Technology forum at 3DPB.com.
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