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3D Printing for Automotive and Formula 1 – Case Studies

Whether it’s a prototype concept car, a production car or a formula 1 racing car, Additive Manufacturing is likely to have played a part in its development. We work with a wide range of customers and engineers in the automotive sector, producing parts that solve specific engineering issues.

For example, our concept heat exchanger has created a huge response from automotive design engineers across the whole industry.  The heat exchanger demonstrates that AM parts can deliver a lighter part, that is optimised for performance ensuring functional strength and structural integrity that fits into an irregular space.  And the component is then made using the exact amount of material required to perform its function – cutting out not only weight but also production costs.  Thus the AM part outperforms its subtractive manufactured alternative hands down.

Making automotive parts from Titanium or Inconel automatically brings a weight reduction and with automotive engineers frequently working to tight deadlines, the speed from concept, through design to final part when using AM is a huge benefit.

There are many benefits for the automotive sector in exploring all that Additive Manufacturing can offer.


  • Car headlight made in plastic 3D printing

    Supercar head and tail light casings using plastic AM

    Rimac Automobili have used our plastic Additive Manufacturing services to produce the headlamp and tail light casings for their latest electric Supercar, the Concept_One.

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  • Close up of 3D printed Gear Box Housing and Heat Exchanger

    R&D project gives 100% production quality assurance

    3T’s latest R&D project aims to give customers 100% production quality assurance in their metal 3D Printed parts by developing an automated non-destructive inspection process to identify any internal or external defects such as porosity, internal cracks, microstructural defects and trapped powder, along with their location …

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  • Plastic AM part for rev b on car

    3D Printing Car Part for BRC Automotive – Case Study

    BRC Automotive have used Plastic AM to incorporate design features into their Inlet Manifolds that were previously unachievable using traditional methods. Allowing them to test and then make small design modifications removed the worry of expensive re-tooling costs, giving them fast turnaround and cost-effective parts …

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  • E-box in titanium using metal AM

    AM reduces production steps, lead time and cost

    Using metal AM, we produced a new “E-Box” resulting in a reduction in the number of production steps from 38 to 9 and lead time reduced from 20 weeks to 5 weeks. Furthermore, the cost of the component was reduced by more than 30% ...

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  • SMT Casing For Web

    Plastic AM gearbox prototype gives superb results

    Plastic Additive Manufacturing was used by our customer to produce a gearbox prototype to prove their design, as well as ensure that it assembled as required, would fit into the desired space and give a 'hands on' appreciation of the new product ...

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  • Bike Stem on Metal AM build platform

    Lightweight Bike Stem using metal AM

    As a partner in the TSB funded SAVING Project, we built a bike stem with a complex internal lattice structure to reduce its weight whilst maintaining its aero dynamicity and strength ...

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  • F1 in Schools takes advantage of Plastic AM

    F1 in Schools takes advantage of Plastic AM

    “F1 in Schools” is an international competition whereby teams of between 3 and 6 have to design, manufacture, present and race a car of maximum dimensions 210mm x 70mm x 70mm. Using 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, the teams design a Formula 1 car of the future, and with the final being held in Austen Texas, the cars are raced at more than 60kph side-by-side along 20-metre straights.

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  • Titanium F1 Roll Hoop proves concept

    Titanium F1 Roll Hoop proves concept

    Since 2009, 3T RPD have been gaining experience in building structural components for the Formula 1 motorsport sector. Of these types of parts the rear roll hoop structure is one of the largest and most demanding from the point of view of Additive Manufacturing (AM). However, for each of the teams we work with, this safety critical item is also one of the most important and therefore any work that has been carried out has to be kept strictly confidential. This poses the daily problem for 3T of how to demonstrate the kind of work that is possible in AM, whilst also maintaining customer confidentiality.

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  • Blue Peter UAV built by 3T

    Blue Peter UAV built by 3T

    BBC Research and Development and the University of Southampton worked together to develop a low cost solution for some of the BBC’s aerial filming requirements. The University approached 3T to join the project following on from the success of the previous partnership in 2011 which resulted in the world’s first AM plane.

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  • Swansea Formula Team - AM offers perfect solution

    Swansea Formula Team – AM offers perfect solution

    Swansea Metropolitan University has consistently ranked amongst the top British universities in the Formula Student competition. The competition involves design and manufacture of a single seater race car during the academic year which is then used to compete against other teams from engineering universities.

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