Aug.27, 2012

Formula Group T, a group of 16 engineering masters students from Group T International University College Leuven, Belgium, have unveiled their racing car "Areion" at this year's Formula Student challenge.

This world's first 3D printed (mostly) race car was tested on Hockenheim race circuit on July 31st and it went from zero to 100km/h in just 4 seconds. The maximum speed Areion achieved was 141km/h.


One of the key-technologies Formula Group T used in Areion is additive manufacturing techniques.

A first aspect where 3D printing is used is in the production of the uprights of the suspension system. Using Sirris' Electron Beam Melting technique, Formula Group T have designed lightweight uprights to get the unsprung mass of the car as low as possible. They use titanium as production material and a micro 3D space frame inside the upright to get a very strong and lightweight part.

Layerwise, a company specialised in selective laser melting, helped the Formula Group T team with the design and production of lightweight and complex components.

In cooperation with Materialise Formula Group T developed a body enclosure of Areion using "Mammoth stereolithography" machines.

Materialise's "Mammoth stereolithography" machines are used to manufacture parts of up to 2100x680x800 mm. This massive build envelope allows the Formula Group T team to implement intelligent air cooling to lead cold air from the inlet sidepods directly to the heat source. The machine was able to finish whole 3D printing process in just three weeks.


A shark skin texture was printed directly onto the nose of the Areion to reduce drag, increase thrust, and improve performance on race day.


Both the right and left side pods were designed and printed with complex cooling channels. Left side pod optimizes cooling by creating an ideal flow of air through radiator; right side pod was 3D printed with a cyclone effect that removes water and dirt from the air before it enters the engine compartment.

(images credit: formulagroupt)

Up to now the Areion car completed two races and won the Best Teamwork Award by Airbus at the UK's Silverstone racing circuit, and a 11th position on the Hockenheim racing circuit in Germany.

(images credit: formulagroupt)


  • 0-100kph: 3.2 s
  • Topspeed: 141km/h
  • Weight: 280 kg
  • Length (Wheelbase): 1600 mm
  • Trackwidth: 1200 mm (front) 1150 mm (rear)


  • Batteries: LiPo packed in 50 V modules
  • Energy: 8 kWh
  • Power: 85 kW
  • Transmission: Delta-Wye switching during driving
  • Controlling: CompactRio driven


  • Chassis: Steel tubular spaceframe
  • Suspension: Double-A carbon wishbones with titanium uprights
  • Transmission: Chaindrive with limited slip differential
  • Motor: 1x167 kW peak axial flux motor
  • Seat: Biocomposite race seat
  • Body: Full 3D printed bodyshell

(images credit: formulagroupt)

Source: formulagroupt via Materialise


Posted in 3D Printing Applications




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