This week there has been a buzz circulating about the 3D printed race car (to be fair the entire car wasn’t 3D printed, just portions of it were.) Either way, this is a great accomplishment and an excellent example of STEM education in action.
“Competing in the prestigious Formula Student 2012 challenge, a 16-man strong team of next-generation engineers from Group T have unveiled the world’s first race car created in great part through 3D Printing: the Areion. Named after the divinely-bred, extremely swift, immortal horse of Greek mythology, the Areion is a powerhouse of innovation and green technology.” (We love the origin of the car’s name, very clever!)
“On July 31st, it lived up to its name on the Hockenheim race circuit by going from zero to 100km/h in just 4 seconds and achieving a top speed of 141km/h on the track. Cutting-edge technologies incorporated into their eco-friendly race car included an electric drive train, bio-composite materials, and of course, Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) on a grand scale (with Materialise).”
- Timely: Initial shell design to a fully finished 3D Printed car body in just three weeks.
- Efficiency: Within a week, Materialise engineers had applied their experience from other projects to the creation of an intelligent 3D Printed car body with integrated clips and connection points.
- Innovation: Printed directly onto the nose of the race car is a shark skin texture, similar to that found on high-tech competition swimsuits. The aim of the teeth-like ridges is to improve performance on race day. (Whether or not the texture helped the Areion cut through the air is still to be determined.)
- Great design: Both the right and left side pods were designed and printed with complex cooling channels. Printed into the left side pod are a nozzle behind the radiator and a diffuser, which optimize cooling by creating the ideal flow of air through the radiator.
This group of engineers did not only build the first 3D printed race car, but they won their races as well! “With two races completed, the Formula Group T team is already the proud winner of two awards and an impressive ranking for a first-time team in the competition.”
To learn more about the design process of the Areion, click here.