Automotive & motorsport was one of the first sectors to continuously use additive manufacturing technology. There has always been a continuous research with very rapid evolutions, starting from racing vehicles up to cars and other road vehicles. In the motorsport sector, very high physical and mechanical performance of the parts to be used in the car is required. With this technology it is possible to obtain components such as pipes and fittings for power units with special characteristics. Pistons, engine heads, oil-piston jets can be made with internal cooling ducts that cannot be made otherwise, thus lightening the weight. For example, taking into consideration a piston for sports use, it would be possible to increase its average speed, increasing in turn the engine power, having a reduced weight and greater heat dissipation.
Every application of this type can be used also for the realization of components for cars and two wheels road. 3D Metal already has a strong experience in this field by building and designing components for well-known brands operating in the target market.
The additive manufacturing of metals is able to create complex monolithic components without the need for welding, as well as allowing curves and radiations not allowed by the technique of hydroforming typically used. Gaining space in the car allows for fewer overheating problems and, therefore, a significant increase in power unit performance.
One of the features of additive manufacturing is the ability to design components with total freedom of shape and geometry and to produce different, slightly modified versions at the same time. This greater freedom can be associated with a reduction in the number of parts to be assembled, resulting in greater technical functionality, as well as a reduction in time and costs.
Another aspect to be considered with regard to the use of additive technology in the automotive & motorsport sector is that of creating metal components that are assembled or incorporated into carbon fiber components or other composite materials. With this technology it is possible to model the metal support surface in a precise way with the surface of the composite component, ensuring a perfect coupling. It is also possible to create metal components with special pins that are incorporated into the composite material, promoting better mechanical assemblies and avoiding the undesirable phenomenon of delamination, which compromises the part. These metal parts can also be lightened respecting the canons of lightness and rigidity of the components in composite material.