Aug 13, 2017 | By David

For many years now the Subaru WRX has been one of the most impressive sedans of its kind. The advanced racing variant of the Impreza was initially released back in 1992, having been specially developed for the World Rally Cross Championships. The Japanese manufacturer’s seminal vehicle has a number of great features, including symmetrical all-wheel drive and turbo-charging, but the engine is something that is particularly noteworthy. A Youtube user recently posted a video that made use of a 3D printed replica of what the WRX has under the hood, to demonstrate exactly how the horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine works.

Engineering Explained is the name of the Youtube channel run by mechanical engineer Jason Fenske. As well as the 3D printed WRX engine which is demonstrated, it has a number of other interesting posts relating to everything automotive, and a new video is uploaded every Wednesday to keep all you greedy gearheads satisfied. The 3D print job he received for demonstration in this video is quite impressive, with every part of the engine faithfully rendered in 3D printed plastic. The pin, camshaft, crankshaft, exhaust and intake valves and all your other favourite engine parts are present and correct. Different colors have been used to make the different parts more visible and the workings easier to grasp, and the whole thing can be taken apart and put back together again as you please.

The WRX engine is a rectangular engine with two cylinders on each side, and the boxer engine allows the car to have a lower center of gravity compared to other setups. What this translates into is a better overall handling for the car, which is a real advantage in the world of competitive motor racing where every second shaved off a lap time can make the difference between victory and second place.

The flat engine setup that distinguishes a boxer engine is clearly visible in the video, with all the pistons laying flat and moving in and out together.  This is what gives it an advantage over an inline or V configuration.

The setup used by the Subaru WRX was relatively common in previous decades, particularly with air-cooled Volkswagen engines, but now it seems to be waning in popularity. Despite its potential benefits, Subaru and Porsche are the only 2 major manufacturers still releasing vehicles with this kind of engine. As the 3D printed engine goes round with a smooth realistic motion in the video, Fenske has also cleverly superimposed footage of the real Subaru WRX driving on an open road along with the sounds of it revving up, just to give a clearer picture of the way the engine powers the car and where the sounds originate from.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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