Today we’ve got Alpine, Sauber and Alfa Romeo making advancements off and on the racetrack with the help of 3D printing.

Starting off with Alfa Romeo Racing, the Italian-Swiss outfit has recently announced a partnership with AM Solutions, the Italian 3D printing subsidiary of the Rösler Group, to support the post-processing of its 3D printed race car components. This partnership means the team will receive 3 S1 systems from AM Solutions in an effort to bring greater automation, economic efficiency and repeatability to its post-processing capabilities. AM Solutions’ S1 machine is an automated post processing system designed specifically for 3D printed plastic and metal parts. The team will use them to automatically de-powder and clean small to medium sized parts for its C41 race car. By teaming up with AM Solutions, Alfa Romeo will look to achieve further efficiency and cost benefits with its post-processing capabilities.

Moving right along we have Sauber Engineering AG, a division of the Sauber Group which currently operates the Alfa Romeo F1 team. They intend to establish a 3D printing business for on-demand classic car spare parts! Let's dive right in. Using their 28 years of experience from the racetrack, Sauber Engineering is now looking to set up a reverse engineering service for heritage vehicles. The venture seeks to address the worldwide demand for vintage automobile enthusiasts, where many spare parts and components are not readily available or even available at all. The company says they can create everything from simple plastic cover ups to entire metal printed gearbox housings or even engine components. Essentially they are capable of replacing just about anything.

Sauber is no stranger to Additive Manufacturing having been steadily integrating it into their latest Alfa Romeo F1 cars. Last season’s C39 car features 143 3D printed parts, a tally that has been more than doubled for their 2021 challenger, the C41. This season’s race car uses 304 3D printed components which has resulted in an astounding 90% cost reduction. These parts were printed by Additive Industries’ machines at Sauber’s very own Metal 3D Printing Competence Center which houses 13 systems and yields 22,000 parts every year. Should we try to reverse engineer and make new car parts for our cars in the shop? Let us know in the comment section down below.

Also worth mentioning this week is Divergent 3D’s Czinger 21C becoming the first hypercar to be built “without tools,” essentially meaning it was almost entirely 3D printed. The small startup was actually one of the major driving forces behind SLM’s development of the new 12 laser NXG system that we covered last year. Can’t wait to see one of these on the road.

Last but not least we have Alpine making the headlines with 3D systems, co-launching Accura Composite PIV, PIV standing for Particle Image Velocimetry. The material is designed specifically for wind tunnel testing, which is becoming more important, not just on the racetrack but on the road as well to develop more aerodynamic and fuel efficient vehicles. Wind tunnel development is basically a 24/7 operation according to 3D Systems. The new material is said to take less time to prepare overall while also providing more accurate testing data.

When using other materials to print wind tunnel parts, there is often a time consuming, multi-step process to get the necessary finish for accurate wind tunnel testing. Accura Composite PIV nearly eliminates this while also adding in high tensile strength, better flex modulus and heat deflection temps of up to 100C.

F1 has always been on the forefront of engineering technologies with additive manufacturing playing a role with just about every team on the grid. McLaren has been in a 4 years partnership with Stratasys since back in 2017. 3D Systems has been a long time partner with the Enstone based Lotus/Renault/Alpine outfit ever since they first used their printers in 1998. Williams racing team was formerly partnered with metal printer manufacturer EOS back in 2015 on a 3 year partnership and is currently in a deal with NEXA 3D that was announced earlier this year. If you didn’t hear about that, we do have a video on it. So which team are you supporting this season and why? Leave it in the comment section down below.

At Vision Miner, we specialize in Functional 3D printing, especially high-performance plastics like PEEK, ULTEM, PPSU, PPS, CFPA, and more. If you're interested in using functional 3D printing and materials in your business, feel free to reach out, and we can help you make the right choice for your application.

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