Dec 16, 2014 | By Alec

We've already known for a while that 3D printing is a friend to Formula One racing. Especially the design process that goes into those crazily fast vehicles is already strongly benefitting from 3D printed technology; earlier this year we learned that the Caterham team 3D prints 800 to 900 parts every month to speed up design and reduce its costs.

But it now appears that 3D printing is making significant inroads outside the sport's garages too. For it turns out that both the first prize trophies of the Hockenheim (Germany) and Silverstone (England) racing tracks have been completely 3D printed.

Both trophies have been entirely constructed using cutting edge 3D printing technologies; down to their plates and screws. As they were too large to accurately print as a solid piece, both trophies consist of multiple pieces that have been separately designed and printed in either resin or polyamide. Some components are the result of SLS (selective laser sintering) technology, while others have been realized with SLA (translucent stereolithography) printing technology. These were subsequently polished, sanded and assembled.

All this has been done in complete secrecy by the Spanish 3D printing company RePro3D, a young business from Valencia that offers 3D printing on-demand services. As Oscar Martinez, the Communications and PR director of RePro3D, revealed, they were forced to sign a six month confidentiality agreement with Santander Bank (a major Formula One sponsor) before this news could be released.

It is remarkable that 3D printing is considered of a high enough quality to actually print trophies for Formula One races. Martinez explained that they've noticed that 3D printing is becoming increasingly visible in the world of sports. 'Formula 1 is a pioneer sport in the use of 3D printing. Most teams use this system to produce their prototypes, arriving to print up to 900 pieces per month. Football is also embracing this new technology; recently [Real Madrid footballer] Cristiano Ronaldo's boots were completely 3D printed, just like the facial mask that [Atletico Madrid footballer Mario] Mandzukic wore earlier this season.'


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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