3D printing found early adopters in F1
Engineers at Caterham, a UK-based Formula One racing team, have been using 3D printing to model designs for the optimal car for race day.
Nissan Delta Wing team has used 3D printing and Laser Sintered Windform XT 2.0 materials in prototyping and testing of Delta Wing race cars. With 3D printing, the team is able to shorten the timing of realization of car construction without any losing in quality.
Before partnering with 3D Systems in 1998, the Lotus F1 racing team built its wind tunnel models out of carbon fiber, epoxy board and metal using time-consuming and labor-intensive methods. 3D printing allows the Lotus F1 Team to build some of its parts directly from digital data and produce components in hours rather than weeks. The new technology has also added benefit to Lotus' new ability to manufacture multiple iterations of the same part simultaneously.Last year, Sahara Force India Formula One Team signed a technical partnership with 3D Systems to fully exploit its existing 3D Systems printers and reduce the manufacturing time of wind tunnel model components.
3D printing technology has become an effective new manufacturing process for F1 teams to reduce both cycle times and cost. "In Formula 1, aerodynamics is an empirical science. We design and compare new ideas and choose directions to follow. The more ideas we can compare and evaluate, the more successful we are on the race track." says Lotus.