British Method 1 staff McLaren Racing now 3D prints as much as 9,000 components every year, long-term manufacturing associate Stratasys has revealed.
Utilizing 5 Stratasys Neo 800 3D printers, the outfit has created quite a few aerodynamic components throughout its entrance and rear wing R&D packages, in addition to giant components of its automotive’s facet bodywork and top-body. In keeping with the staff’s Head of AM Tim Chapman, the expertise has additionally turn into superior sufficient for end-use functions, whereas persevering with to assist speed up its aero-testing initiatives.
“Wind tunnel testing remains to be the gold commonplace when assessing how each floor works collectively, both as an meeting or as an entire automotive,” explains Chapman. “Our Neo collection of 3D printers have helped us to dramatically cut back the lead instances of our aerodynamic wind tunnel elements and tasks.”
“Stereolithography expertise and supplies have advanced – altering the best way we use it. We don’t simply manufacture prototypes anymore.”
Stratasys’ SLA 3D printing enlargement
Over the past 24 months, Stratasys has expanded its portfolio to incorporate extra applied sciences, and prolong its attain past the customers of its proprietary Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) programs. To this point, this enlargement has seen Stratasys purchase Origin to construct out its Digital Mild Projection (DLP) providing, along with its acquisition of Xaar 3D, which foreshadowed the launch of its H-Collection 3D printers.
In February 2021, Stratasys purchased SLA 3D printing agency RPS as nicely, in a transfer that has seen it merge its acquisition’s Neo line of business stereolithography machines into its wider providing. As such, Stratasys’ SLA lineup now contains the Neo 450s, Neo 450e and Neo 800 3D printers, the latter of which options an 800 x 800 x 600 mm construct quantity and a laser that may focus right down to a dimension of 150-600 microns.
Whereas the acquisition noticed Stratasys’ V650 SLA 3D printer scrapped, it offered the agency with entry to RPS’ already-established buyer base, thus strengthening its place within the automotive and tooling markets. On the time, Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif additionally hailed the Neo’s “dependable and correct builds” as being “superior” to these made by rivals, and it seems that is now taking part in out at McLaren.
McLaren’s aerodynamic advances
McLaren’s Stratasys partnership dates again to at the very least 2017, once they agreed to an preliminary four-year collaboration, and since then, the British outfit has continued to make progress with its in-house 3D printing fleet. Put in on the staff’s Woking base, its programs enable for the 3D printing of jigs, templates and small molds, which might in any other case be machined in a slower, extra material-intensive course of.
Primarily, nonetheless, McLaren makes use of its Neo 800s to help its wind tunnel testing tasks, by deploying them to 3D print 60% scale fashions of potential components. These, in flip, are iteratively developed to optimize the staff’s aero bundle and discover extra downforce for its present automotive, in addition to successfully offering it with extra grip, and balancing its entrance and rear hundreds.
In doing so, Stratasys says its associate has now reported making “massive strides” in its wind tunnel testing packages, thanks specifically to the accuracy and throughput of the Neo 800. The machine’s giant mattress permits for the creation of fifty to 60 air stress housings without delay, components which might be designed for embedding into McLaren’s race automobiles, and enabling its pitwall to watch its automotive’s aero efficiency.
Stratasys’ 3D printers additionally enable the outfit to provide giant components like scale mannequin top-bodies in as little as three days, whereas decreasing its associated prices, by saving it from having to outsource to contractors. McLaren’s time financial savings are additional prolonged by its use of Somos PerFORM Replicate, a resin that takes 30% much less time to post-process, one thing Chapman says expedites the entire testing course of.
“We discover the high-definition elements from our Neo machines require minimal hand ending, which permits a lot quicker throughput to the wind tunnel,” provides Chapman. “Along with pace, we are able to now produce wind tunnel components with supreme accuracy, element and floor end, which has enabled our staff to boost testing and discover revolutionary new concepts to enhance efficiency.”
“I can’t overstate how necessary these advantages are in Method 1, the place the smallest design iteration could make all of the distinction between successful, dropping or making up positions on the grid.”
Additive manufacturing in Method 1
Stratasys’ 3D printers are removed from the one ones getting used on the planet of Method 1, the place the expertise continues to be deployed at scale within the manufacturing of wind tunnel testing components. In actual fact, chatting with 3D Printing Trade in Might, Alpine’s Pat Warner revealed the extent of 3D printing in F1, with SLA being utilized broadly up and down the grid for aerodynamic prototyping.
Williams Racing, as an illustration, labored with Nexa3D final season to create purposeful elements leveraging the corporate’s high-speed NXE400 3D printer. Particularly, utilizing the expertise, Williams 3D printed F1 wind tunnel testing components as a method of assessing the aerodynamic properties of its race automobiles and remaining aggressive.
When it comes to metallic 3D printing, the Alfa Romeo ORLEN F1 staff additionally continues to deploy Additive Industries’ expertise inside the manufacturing of its automobiles. Whereas the staff’s newest challenger has fewer additive manufactured aero-parts than earlier than, it’s nonetheless mentioned to be fitted with a number of 3D printed F1-grade “important elements.”
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Featured picture exhibits McLaren’s 2022 Method 1 automobiles. Photograph through Stratasys.