The McLaren Honda F1 team is ramping up its 3D printing techniques for the 2017 Formula 1 season. The team has patterned up with Stratasys for its 3D printing efforts, and will be taking one of the company's uPrint SE Plus 3D printers to races, to develop and produce new parts on demand.
3D printing has been used in Formula 1 for some time, but more often than not, it's used to create moulds for parts, which are then produced using traditional methods. Several parts of the MCL32 2017 F1 car however, are completely 3D printed.
Parts including a hydraulic line bracket (pictured), carbon fibre brake cooling ducts and a rear wing flap to help improve downforce, were all made using 3D printing techniques in hours, compared to days and weeks required for traditional methods.
Neil Oatley, Design and Development Director, McLaren Racing Limited said: "We are consistently modifying and improving our Formula 1 car designs, so the ability to test new designs quickly is critical to making the car lighter and more importantly increasing the number of tangible iterations in improved car performance".
"If we can bring new developments to the car one race earlier - going from new idea to new part in only a few days – this will be a key factor in making the McLaren MCL32 more competitive."
"By expanding the use of Stratasys 3D printing in our manufacturing processes, including producing final car components, composite lay-up and sacrificial tools, cutting jigs, and more, we are decreasing our lead times while increasing part complexity".
The Formula 1 season continues this weekend in China, with reigning champions Mercedes already sitting below Ferrari in the constructor's championship. You can follow all the action on Sky in 4K Ultra HD from Friday practice through to the live race on Sunday.