For many years, the automotive industry has embraced 3D printing technology, manufacturing especially unique and complex car components designed to be quickly produced at a fraction of the cost than traditionally manufactured parts. Early adopters used the technology mainly for rapid prototyping, but recently, manufacturers have been creating 3D printed bespoke pieces for concept cars and luxury vehicles. 1016 Industries, a Miami-based company that produces specialized 3D printed parts to maximize the performance of the fastest vehicles in the world, has successfully completed initial performance testing for a McLaren 720S with a body kit of 3D printed parts.
1016 Industries is known for creating some of the world’s most advanced carbon fiber designs that improve the aesthetic and performance of exotic automobiles. The team’s engineers claim that they “extract the DNA of a car” to modify and replace it to improve how it drives, functions and behaves. The company seeks to be the first in the automotive industry to seamlessly integrate 3D printing technologies into scaled manufacturing processes. Now, it has successfully completed its first phase of performance testing for one of McLaren’s supercars, fully tuned with 3D printed parts.
Creating parts for luxury sports cars with advanced technology is at the core of the business. From how a car sounds, looks and performs to, most importantly, the strength, function, form, and quality of the engineered parts are what makes the company so unique. 1016 Industries has been giving makeovers to supercars for more than five years, with more than 150,000 tuning boxes sold around the world to over 50 countries. The quality control of the manufacturing process and continuous improvement has led the company engineers to tune parts for Lamborghini’s high-performance vehicles, as well as those from Ferrari, Audi, and Porsche.
The automotive aftermarket was valued at $378.4 billion and is expected to grow in the coming decade, according to a report by Grand View Research. While most car owners only take care of just a few updates, many more invest in entire body kits, majorly driven by the pursuit to enhance vehicle performance. 1016 Industries has pursued this market, suggesting it has set out to revolutionize automotive design by exploring how to make an array of world-class automotive parts more efficiently.
With its latest indulgence in McLaren’s exclusive 720S prototype, the company is fully utilizing state-of-the-art 3D printing to understand the limits of what the technology can achieve. Born and raised on the track, McLaren uses racing technology and expertise to create the most advanced performance cars in the world. The British automotive manufacturer based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, is the recurring imaginative force behind some of the most unique cars in the world. As one of its latest additions, the 720S is among the best performance cars in the industry. Its ferociously fast, insanely powerful twin-turbo V-8 engine is always ready to give more, creating a dynamic driving experience. Adding to its engineering excellence, additively manufactured parts could make the 720S even more novel than it already is.
For the 3D McLaren prototype project, 1016 Industries used CAD and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to validate all the design criteria, before taking the 720S car with the 3D printed parts into the field for situational testing conducted in Detroit. According to Autoweek, the company partnered with Abushi Automotive to create the parts for company founder and CEO Peter Northrop’s personal 710-hp, rear-wheel-drive McLaren. From 3D printing the front bumper to the fenders, hood, outer door blades, lower door skirt, and many more parts, the company got very cozy with the 3D printing process, which allowed them to manufacture faster, more efficiently, and with better quality than other traditional manufacturing techniques.
The main goal of the recent drive test was to see just how durable 1016 Industries’ 3D printed 720S parts were. Even more importantly, 1016 Industries is beginning to research the long-term viability of the company’s 3D printed parts integrated into a high-performance exotic vehicle like the McLaren 720S. According to the company, the data from the introductory test phase is encouraging.
“On this initial test run, 1016 Industries put the car through several different high performance driving scenarios in general conditions, as well as rapid acceleration and deceleration to find out just how much our 1016 Industries 3D printed parts could handle,” explained Northrop. “Our 3D printed 720S designs didn’t produce any serious fractures or cracking during field testing. On this initial run, we were able to take the car up to 80 miles per hour. None of the 1016 Industries 3D printed parts failed or were compromised at all. Everything performed incredibly well.”
Northrop also revealed that, even though in theory 3D printing technology seems like something that could be easily applied to the automotive industry, the company engineers and designers quickly realized that the reality of additive technology is much more complex than it looks. Moreover, getting a 3D printed part right the first time was not that easy. Incorporating 3D printing into the production processes has been a steep learning curve for the executive and his team, but they are now encouraged by how the 720S prototype performed. Although the material has not yet proven that it would be the right fit for a long-term prototype, testing has shown that a car can use 3D printed parts and be drivable. Now, 1016 Industries will work on discovering to what extent that is possible.
The 1016 Industries first full-body 3D printed Vision Widebody kit for the McLaren 720S is nearing completion and will include a complete body panel replacement (110 mm wider, full carbon construction, and CFD optimized). Expected to debut at the beginning of 2021, the company will limit the production to just 30 kits available for purchase worldwide. Additionally, the business plans to provide directly printed tooling molds for the McLaren 720S and other supercars as well in the near future, targeting the manufacture of products directly as 3D printed parts.
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