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article imageMcLaren to 3D-print parts at trackside

By Tim Sandle     Apr 7, 2017 in Technology
Car manufacturer McLaren plans to start 3D-printing parts for its Formula 1 cars at the trackside. This is set to begin with the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix .
As 3D-printing advances the types of objects that will be printed enters an increasingly diverse range of fields. This includes circuit boards to tools used by astronauts. With this latter innovation, International Space Station astronauts recently printed a tool with a design file transmitted from the ground to the printer.
The new application for additive printing is close to ground level. McLaren plans to start 3D-printing parts for its Formula 1 cars at the trackside for Grand Prix competitions. The British company (McLaren Racing Limited) thinks the the technology will give it an advantage over rivals allowing it to make last-minute changes. Formula 1 is the highest class of single-seat auto racing. The racing cars are the fastest road course racing cars in the world, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce.
The device the company will use is a Stratasys printer. Stratasys, Ltd. is a manufacturer of 3D printers and 3D production systems for office-based rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing solutions.
Discussing the new racing car application, Jonathan Neale, chief operating office of McLaren Technology Group, said to Sky News: "It's way more serious than a hype thing. If you look at the digitisation of Formula One over the last 10 years and everything that's happened through simulation, the advance of rapid prototyping technologies, it's real performance for us, because Formula One is nothing if not in the business of time."
Initially the main part to be produced will be the oil pump that sits inside the gearbox of the 2017 McLaren-Honda car (the MCL32 F1 car). Other parts like carbon-fiber reinforced hydraulic lines, radio cables, brake cooling ducts, and even rear wing flaps can also be printed using the new technology.
More about McLaren, Formula 1, Car racing, Racing cars, 3D printing
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