Every second counts – especially when you’re racing at speeds of more than 200mph. The world of professional motorsports is on the fast-track, and every day designers are challenged with new ways to make cars go faster and become more competitive in the world’s biggest races.
Competitive racing is a demanding, high-performance environment that’s always pushing the limits of speed and aerodynamics. Designers must be able to make car modifications on-the-fly, producing complex prototypes and custom tools with speed, repeatability, and accuracy. That’s why additive manufacturing has grown to become quite important across the automotive industry.
Performance fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing is being increasingly adopted by the world’s top motorsports teams and manufacturers. Use of engineering-grade printers and high-performance materials are ideally suited for many of the extreme challenges facing motorsport teams. The reliability, speed, and flexibility of additive manufacturing (AM) allows such racing teams as Andretti Autosport to accelerate design iterations, workflows, and final part production. The team has aligned with Stratasys to successfully integrate 3D printing into its diverse racing platforms.
Noted Andretti Autosport COO Rob Edwards says, “We’ve been looking for the right partner to add 3D capability to our design and development activities for a while now. Since the machines were commissioned, they’ve been operating at capacity, and we look forward to seeing the benefits of our expanded capability on the racetrack in 2019.”
Andretti is one of the top performers in IndyCar, Indy Lights, Rallycross, and Formula E. The team now leverages both the Stratasys F370™ and Fortus® 450mc™ 3D printers across their design shops. The F370 3D Printer is one of Stratasys’ most-reliable industrial-grade solutions, empowering both designers and engineers to produce extremely complex parts with flexibility – powering true rapid prototyping.
The Fortus 450mc is specifically designed for advanced prototyping, custom tooling, and production in high-impact environments. The solution leverages materials such as FDM Nylon12CF, a high-strength, fatigue-resistant carbon composite with extreme light-weighting functionality. Capitalizing on materials with impact resistance and stiffness, teams can more effectively meet the requirements of motorsport environments – where aerodynamic loads, vibration and mechanical stresses are key.
For teams like Andretti, AM can apply to everything from wind tunnel programs and jigs and fixtures to production and composite tooling and final car parts. The critical element is the technology’s ability to create parts quickly – eliminating multiple design iterations, shrinking manufacturing cycles, and ensuring parts can be integrated and tested faster.
Pat Carey, Senior Vice President at Stratasys, concludes, “High performance FDM solutions are increasingly being adopted by the world’s top motorsports teams and manufacturers. We firmly believe these engineering-grade printers and high-performance materials are the perfect fit for the extreme challenges many racing teams face.”