McLaren expands use of 3D printing to improve F1 car performance

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McLaren Racing is expanding the use of 3D printing to produce components for its 2017 Formula 1 MCL32 race car, according to a statement by 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys.

The move follows a recent 4-year partnership agreement between the Woking, UK-based sports car maker and the Minnesota, US-based 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys. 

Some of the 3D printed parts which were designed to improve performance and applied to the 2017 race car include hydraulic line bracket, carbon fibre composite brake cooling ducts and rear wing flap.

According to Stratasys, in the case of the hydraulic line bracket, McLaren Honda 3D printed a structural bracket to attach the hydraulic line on the MCL32 race car using Stratasys FDM technology.

The bracket, said the company, was produced “in just four hours compared to an estimated two weeks to create using traditional manufacturing processes.”

“By expanding the use of Stratasys 3D printing in our manufacturing processes, including producing final car components, composite lay-up and sacrificial tools… we are decreasing our lead times while increasing part complexity," said Neil Oatley, design and development director, McLaren Racing Ltd.

Additionally, to improve design and manufacturing cycles, McLaren Honda will also bring a Stratasys uPrint SE Plus to track testing and races on-site, to be able to produce parts and tooling on demand.

"As the Official Supplier of 3D Printing Solutions to the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team, we are working closely together to solve their engineering challenges in the workshop, in the wind-tunnel, and on the track,” said Andy Middleton, president, Stratasys EMEA.

This, he added, “will enable us to develop new materials and applications that bring new efficiencies and capabilities to McLaren Racing and other automotive designers and manufacturers."

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