Aug 27, 2016 | By Benedict

Tilke GmbH, a German architecture firm and leading designer of Formula 1 circuits and facilities, has used 3D printing equipment from 3D Systems to build accurate models of proposed F1 circuits. The 3D printed models have served to provide clients with a fuller idea of a given design.

Half a century ago, most motor races were held on disused aerodromes or closed stretches of public roads. Some notable circuits still are, but many—particularly in the money-rich area of Formula 1—are now created expressly for racing. Additionally, modern F1 circuits are about much more than just the road: most are massive complexes consisting of hotels, bars, and restaurants surrounding the track, as well as hotels and other facilities to cater for drivers, teams, and fans.

Designing F1 circuits is a lucrative but highly complex business. Since the topography of a circuit’s location can be hilly and uneven, it is often difficult to convey on paper exactly how exactly a circuit will turn out in real life. Luckily, 3D printing can provide a solution to this problem, showing all the peaks and troughs that a 2D map would be unable to represent. Since 1994, German company Tilke has been the leading designer of F1 circuits and facilities, boasting more than 200 employees and overseas offices in Mexico, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain. At one of its two offices in Aachen, Germany, the company uses a 3D Systems Spectrum Z510 3D printer to create high-quality color models of its proposed circuits.

The Spectrum Z510, an FDM 3D printer, is an office-friendly machine because of its quiet operation and compact size. “Before we had the Spectrum Z510, topography was very difficult to model, as were complex building structures and details,” said Bettina Noppeney, an architect at Tilke. “Now, using images, we are able to print 3D color models of the track and its surrounding area. We can also print finely detailed 3D models of the many buildings we design, which make up the circuit complex.”

Tilke’s Franz Schleibach is responsible for the running of the Spectrum Z510 3D printer, and liaises with the firm’s many architects and engineers to create 3D models of everything from structural components and electro-mechanical assemblies to large-scale composite layouts of a proposed site. “Using the Spectrum Z510 we can present the client with an entire model of a proposed F1 complex,” Schleibach said. “Before we invested in the 3D Systems machine, we had to show the concept in 2D. When a client can see a model in 3D—and is able to physically pick up buildings, see how they are positioned relative to one another and how they fit into the landscape—the effect is much more impressive.”

While some large models are also hand-made by architects at Tilke, the 3D printer is often used to add fine details or extra elements. For some of these parts, the company does not even need to create a design from scratch using CAD software, since it can source content online and repurpose it for client presentations. Then, using the 3D printer, designers can create physical iterations of designs in hours, rather than days, and build multiple models at once by stacking and nesting parts.

In addition to providing huge time-saving advantages, the Spectrum Z510 3D printer also enables Tilke to create 3D printed parts in full color, giving clients a more realistic picture of how a Formula 1 complex might look. “As well as improving our model making process, the Spectrum Z510 has allowed us to pitch for projects in new areas,” Noppeney added. “We can also produce concepts much more quickly and to higher standards of finish. The machine has changed the way we explore ideas and how we present to clients.”

By enabling Tilke to 3D print its F1 circuit models at top speed, 3D printing has put the German company in pole position to impress clients. And with additive manufacturing technology only likely to improve, the technique could soon become standard procedure across the industry.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Ralph Resnick wrote at 9/6/2016 11:56:55 AM:

The Z510 is not FDM. It is binder jet.

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