Thanks to 3D printing technology, Aston Martin Racing (AMR) met an aggressive development schedule for its AMR-One racecar. Through the use of a Stratasys Inc. (NASDAQ: SSYS), Dimension® 3D Printer, engineers mocked up the chassis, driver controls and engine of the racecar.
The 3D printer was used to produce prototypes for concept and testing of the LMP1 class car. Developed in under six months, the car will be driven by the Aston Martin Racing works team drivers in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC).
AMR selected the Dimension machine for its rapid prototyping capabilities after seeing the speed and quality of the parts produced for the Prodrive run rally team in a previous project. Having the machine on site helped the race team to design, test and build a complete car to meet the tight deadline for entry into this year’s ILMC.
Built from the ground up, the AMR-One features a new custom carbon fiber chassis, an open cockpit and a significantly down sized engine, all of which required testing during the building process. The Dimension machine was used primarily for designing and testing the engine parts as well as mocking up the chassis and driver controls. This ensured that the new design met the 2011 regulations from the Le Mans governing body – the ACO. The car was developed from start to finish between autumn 2010 and the end of February 2011.
Aston Martin Racing is also exploring the idea of using the 3D printer to make finished parts for end-use on the car. One item being considered is the front wing splitters used for aerodynamic flow.
“When we received final sign-off to build the car for this year’s ILMC, using rapid prototyping was a no-brainer for us, as we had a tight deadline to meet. Most of the engine was prototyped on the Dimension machine, which also proved very useful for the early stages of determining the driver fit for the car,” says George Howard-Chappell, Technical Director at Aston Martin Racing. “Without the 3D printer, we would not be testing the car today. Following the success with the AMR-One, we hope to use the capabilities of another Stratasys machine to help build and deliver end-use parts for future cars.”
“The AMR-One has achieved a balance of aesthetics and aerodynamics, and FDM technology has helped make this possible,” says Tim Heller, European Managing Director for Stratasys. “We wish the Aston Martin Racing team the best of luck with the upcoming season.”