The 2017 Formula 1 season is on and competitors are deploying new ways to increase their performance. Being such a competitive environment, Formula 1 is also the perfect environment to employ the most advanced technologies during manufacturing.

McLaren-Honda steps forward and partners with Stratasys to produce 3D printed car parts faster and closer to the racing track.

The main reason for engaging 3D printed solutions is to be able to deliver new car developments faster by transforming gear from idea to component in a much shorter period of time.

This solution enables parts and tools necessary to be evaluated during races, practice sessions and testing.

McLaren-Honda’s 2017 racing car, MCL32 is already equipped with four 3D printed parts.

A hydraulic line bracket, produced in four hours instead of two weeks if traditional manufacturing techniques were used; a rear-wing flap, designed to increase rear downforce was manufactured in carbon fibre-reinforced composites using a 3D-printed lay-up tool produced on the FDM-based Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer; a flexible radio harness location boot, taking advantage of the Stratasys J750 3D Printer’s ability to print in flexible materials and carbon fibre brake cooling ducts, 3D-printed using ST-130 soluble material, developed specifically for the application, and then wrapped with carbon-fibre-reinforced composite material and autoclave-cured at elevated temperatures, are all part of the team’s 2017 car.

We are constantly modifying and improving our Formula 1 car designs,said Neil Oatley, Design and Development Director, McLaren Racing.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 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.