Additive manufacturing technology developer Stratasys (Minneapolis, Minnesota) says the Mini Cooper World Rally Championship (WRC) team used its 3D printers not only in the development of its racecar for this year’s circuit, but also to manufacture finished components for actual use on the vehicle.
A full-scale mockup of the Mini John Cooper Works World Rally Car, created directly from CAD files, included 3D-printed components for the engine bay, gearbox, steering assembly, vehicle interior and more, including engine components such as intake valves. Beyond the test track, the team has developed a list of 15 components per car to be produced via Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technology. One of the most visible of these end-use parts is an ergonomically styled gearshift display and control panel, which is mounted on the steering column.
According to the Mini WRC Team, the use of 3D printing saved time, reduced tool costs and enabled more design freedom for complex geometric parts. “We would find it nearly impossible to build another car without using FDM technology,” says Paul Doe, chief design engineer. “We would never have dreamt of building the parts we did without the Stratasys machines. Using composite parts would have cost up to three to five times more.”