CRP’s Motorsports’ Materials; Faster Metal 3D Printer; Over-Mold for 3D Printed Prototypes
The tradeoff between material stiffness and the weight needed to achieve it is a constant challenge in developing components for motor racing applications.
Additive manufacturing group CRP Technology (crptechnology.com) says SLS material balances both. Recently, the materials and design firm showcased that by producing several parts for Nissan’s DeltaWing race car. Those 3D printed parts included electrical breakout boxes, transmission seal covers with integrated pressurized oil feed passages, and a tow hook plinth, created with Windform XT 2.0 composite. CRP Technology and its CRP USA studio used carbon-fiber reinforced Windform XT 2.0 to construct the gearbox side covers, as well.
CRP says it now has used a similar process and materials for one if its own products, the Energica (energicasuperbike.com) electric motorcycle, for the street cycle’s headlight covers.
After choosing the style of headlight cover, the part was cast in polyurethane and later scanned with a FARO (faro.com) laser. CRP processed the STL cloud point file of the cover and imported it into a CAD file for the final geometry of the component. CRP used its Windform GF 2.0 material to forge the headlight covers, which were smoothed manually and then painted silver.
Industrial design and materials firm CRP relied on 3D printing for several parts on Nissan’s DeltaWing racecar.
Solid Concepts (solidconcepts.com) was after a more affordable process to produce over-molded prototypes that could be churned out more quickly than through traditional casting. The company says it found it with help from an Objet Connex500 platform 3D printer (objet.com) using a combination of PolyJet white and PolyJet flex black materials to achieve various levels of component hardness. The resulting PolyJet Over-Mold has good tactile feedback for things like buttons and skins, or any piece of equipment requiring elastomeric materials. Solid Concepts says this process is the fastest yet for over-molded components.
Although there is no hardware to show off just yet, Sigma Labs Inc. (sigmalabsinc.com) and Interactive Machines (interactivemachinesinc.com) have signed an agreement to develop and sell a new generation of 3D metal printing machines. Those machines, the companies say, will be capable of outputs up to 10 times what current technology offers.
Under their memorandum of understanding, Sigma Labs would have exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights to the device. Interactive Machines would own the intellectual property and receive a royalty from Sigma Labs for the use of its production technology. The companies will demonstrate a prototype some time in the third quarter of 2013. But all of this is dependent upon securing the financing to execute a business plan.
Mark Cola, president and CEO of Sigma Labs, said that “upon completion of the prototype, we expect to immediately showcase the machine to potential buyers, thereby enabling our team of companies to offer a new and unique production technology to the additive metals manufacturing market.”