May 21, 2014

Image: Wikipedia

The Ferrari 312P was a sports car prototype racing car used for racing in 1969 and 1970. After boycotting sports car racing in 1968 to protest a rule change that had caused their 4-litre 330 P4 to be banned, Ferrari built the legendary race car 312P, a 3000cc prototype in 1969.

The name 312P stands for 3 liter displacement, 12 cylinders and prototype. What the acronym does not reveal: The 60 degree V12 engine puts out 430 HP and creates unbelievable forward thrust beyond the 300 kilometer per hour limit in a racing car that weighs only 680 kilograms.

The refurbishment of such racing engines is not only time-consuming and costly, but also very challenging on a technical level. Traditionally it would take or more but now it can be done in a few weeks, thanks to German 3D printer manufacturer Voxeljet and 3D printing technology.

For producing two cylinder heads for the V-engine, engineers first used reverse engineering which utilized mobile measurement arms to automatically generate 3D data of the cylinder heads. The data was then sent to voxeljet service center. The high-precision 3D printers created a total of seven sand components, one each for the upper and lower box, and five sand cores, which form the entire cast form.

"Reverse engineering with 3D printing is by far the most efficient method for reproducing components that are no longer available." said voxeljet CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer. "Often, it is the only way to reproduce certain components quickly and at reasonable cost. Thus there is considerable demand for 3D printing in this area. We are of course very pleased that our technology was a contributing factor in the successful engine overhaul of a Ferrari 312P."

The sand molds were then sent to metal foundry Wilhelm Funke in Alfeld an der Leine to be cast in special aluminum alloy. The casting and post-processing work are complete now, the Ferrari 312P will soon be making an appearance at classic motor racing events again.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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