3D Printed Porsche Turbo Inlet Ducts Enable Winning Performance
3D Printing Case – Automotive
3D printed solutions and applications are making a difference in aftermarket auto racing part creation and modification.
Champion Motorsport has built its reputation on impressive victories in auto racing. That same winning technology is now available in a line of aftermarket performance products for Porsche cars, including 3D designed and printed turbo inlet ducts for the Porsche 997 also known as the Porsche 911.
Had the team opted for traditional manufacturing to create necessary turbo inlet ducts, they would have likely had to sacrifice either air flow or aesthetics, Champion found it didn’t have to compromise on either when using 3D printed soluble molds. Stratasys 3D printers made that win possible.
Specific challenges in building aftermarket performance parts
Conventional tooling methods could not produce a duct that was perfectly smooth on both the interior and exterior surface.
A duct molded in two parts would have to be bonded, which would make it weaker than a duct made of a single piece which would have the structural integrity to perform under the demanding conditions of high performance racing.
The only way to mold it in a single piece was to use a mold that could be removed from within the tube. However, the product of a sacrificial sand core compromised the surface finish and couldn’t deliver the consistency Champion sought.
Chris Lyew, lead mechanical engineer for Champion Motorsport explained the dilemma the company faced: “The performance of the vehicle depends on a smooth internal surface while the customer expects a beautiful external surface.”
A brilliant Core Solution
Champion Motorsport found the solution in the Fortus 3D Production System it had been using in the design process.
The FDM-based Stratasys 3D printer created the functional prototypes for its designs. It now also took on the challenge of molding the carbon fiber by producing FDM soluble cores.
Champion explains how the Fortus takes a three dimensional CAD design and then 3D prints a mold based on it. The mold can “be wrapped 360º in carbon, eliminating the need for any seams in the finished part.”
A solution is applied to remove the mold and leave behind a perfectly smooth pipe. The one-piece construction delivers consistent quality for the high performance turbo inlet ducts. 3D printing provides what Lyew calls “the magic recipe” for this soluble core production.
FDM soluble cores have opened up new design possibilities for Champion. Louis Malone, Technical Director, Champion Motorsport “At the end of the day, the FDM technologies – they save us time; they save us money.” It’s a win all around