For more than three decades, automotive companies have been using 3D printed car parts in their quest to create faster, safer, and lighter vehicles, saving both time and money in the process.
The ability to manufacture layer-by-layer without the need for tooling, has opened the door for affordable and rapid prototyping of increasingly advanced components, removing unnecessary production costs and design limitations.
The current drive toward electric power has also been hastened by AM technology. With firms able to innovate, create, and launch faster than ever before, 3D Printing is helping us cut the journey time to a greener and more sustainable future.
At LPE, we provide the in-house machinery and hands-on consultation you need to realise the full benefits of 3D Printing, exploring new and unique applications in both prototyping and production. Our expert team of modelmakers and engineers utilise the latest technologies to help you take your concept from the planning stage to the open road.
In no industry is 3D Printing driving advancement faster than in motorsport. The unity of purpose and direct competition under which motorsport teams operate, propels rapid and constant iteration right down to the most meticulous alterations in design and application technique.
Motorsport has provided a wealth of evidence on the weight-reductive and aerodynamic-enhancing capabilities of 3D Printing, and was one of the first industries to successfully utilise 3D Printed parts to optimise performance under extreme mechanical stress conditions.
Having been around the track more than most, LPE are proud to say we’ve worked with clients at all stages in the motorsport development cycle, from part suppliers to race-winning F1 teams. We’re excited to continue our work with motorsport clients new and old, to push the boundaries of innovation.
Why use 3D Printing in automotive and motorsport?
- Complexity made simple – Produce intricate parts without the hassle of tooling or the requirement for multi-component assembly.
- Quicker design and development – The ability to make quick iterations means parts can be tested, tweaked, and perfected for rapid launch times.
- Cost-cutting – Save money on mouldings, labour and material waste.
- Lightweighting – Better fuel efficiency and higher speeds can be achieved with AM’s weight-reductive capabilities.
- Customisation – With cost efficiency no longer linked to units produced, customising parts on request has become a feasible, profitable service, not to mention the ability to produce on-the-fly tools for small and medium batch production.
- Design testing and demonstrations
- Performance validation
- Aerodynamic testing
- Rapid manufacturing of jigs, tools, and fixtures
- Small batch production runs
- One-off replacement parts
- Development of EV technology
Why choose LPE for your automotive or motorsport applications?
- Over thirty years of experience in automotive & motorsport prototyping/production
- ISO9001 certified – we are committed to quality assurance
- Wide range of materials in plastics, metals and rubbers with ability to deliver functional parts
- Cutting edge engineering solutions
- COCs, first article inspection reports, in house testing and full material traceability available on request
- Flexible project leadtimes allow customers to accelerate campaign success
- Next-day delivery across the UK & Ireland
- Highly experienced team of engineers and modelmakers to help you unlock the full potential of 3D Printing
- Will provide NDAs guaranteeing protection of intellectual property
LPE Recommended Materials & Processes for Automotive/Motorsport
Stereolithography (SLA) - PerFORM
Applications include: Wind tunnel test models, high temperature testing
Somos® PerFORM is the material of choice for applications that require strong, stiff, high temperature resistant composite parts. With its excellent high heat tolerance, outstanding detail resolution and stiffness, Somos® PerFORM is the ideal material for a variety of applications including tooling, wind tunnel testing, high temperature testing, casings and automotive housings.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - Nylon (PA 2200)
Applications include: Under bonnet testing, low volume production parts
Laser sintered parts made from PA 2200 have excellent material properties with high strength and rigidity, good chemical resistance and finishing possibilities. It is a tough, functional material with high temperature resistance, designed for strong end user parts. Due to its excellent mechanical properties, users can substitute injection moulding for simplified, high-spec 3D printing. Able to withstand temperatures over 150 deg C, parts are ideal for under bonnet test conditions.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) – Aluminium AlSi10Mg
Applications include: Automotive Housings, Low volume production engine parts
Aluminium AlSi10Mg is a widely used alloy that combines light weight and good mechanical properties. The material has good thermal and electrical conductivity especially after heat treatment. With excellent corrosion resistance and dynamic properties. lightweight automotive designs are much more easily achievable than with traditional casting methods. With flexible post processing options, it is ideal for automotive housings, engine parts and even production tools.
Vacuum Casting - SORTA-Clear 18
Applications include: Rubber seals, gaskets
Sorta-Clear Series rubbers are near-clear translucent silicone rubbers.
Sorta-Clear 18 offers high transparency with good chemical and heat resistance. With negligible shrinkage, it also features high tensile and tear strength, so is an ideal solution to produce functional automotive components for both prototype and end use requirements.
Interested in finding out more about the materials we offer?