Sep.27, 2013

Last year, 40 Chinese students from the School of Automobile and Mechanical Engineering, Changsha University of Science & Technology (CSUST) joined the Formula Student China (FSC) car racing with their first race car FNX-12 and they ended the race in 28th place. This year the students come up with a new version - FNX13, and is scheduled to join the China student formula race in October.

The FNX13 is installed with a Honda 600CC motorcycle engine because one of the rules is that vehicles must not use more than 610cc four-stroke gasoline engine. Therefore the students had to find other ways to enhance acceleration. To make the car lighter, both the steering wheel and the air intake system were made using 3D printing technology. "Actually the body is completely different from FNX-12," said Liu Ze, the team leader. The body of the FNX13 is made of carbon fiber, and costs around 30,000 yuan ($4,900). The double wishbones suspension and brake calipers are also made of light-weight materials. "Last year it weighs 270 kilograms. And this year only 220 kg, 50 kilograms lighter than the earlier version." Liu said.

In addition, 3D printing allows the students to print complex models in a single print job. "If we adopt machinery manufacturing method, lots of small parts will be needed for gears. However, with digital fabrication, the parts were modeled in the computer and then we simply just send the file to the 3D printer." Liu explained.

The FNX13 has reached speed of 150km / hour and a 0–100 km/h acceleration time of just 4.5 seconds. However the total cost of FNX13 is still higher than they expected. More than 230,000 yuan ($37,570) were spent on the project. "It is still too expensive for mass production." said Liu. "The cost of 3D printing is still high. Hopefully one day the cost of 3D printers and materials would fall to the point where everyone may easily own and use them."

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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