May 30, 2017 | By Julia

A team of engineering students from Germany’s TU Darmstadt have built an electric race car to compete in the 2017 Formula Student competition. Hot on the heels of their Lambda2016 car, which finished in the top ten overall of Formula Student Germany last year, the TU Darmstadt Racing Team (DART) is now looking to go even farther above and beyond. This year’s DART race car contains five ultralight 3D printed components, most notably a steering shaft made from a specialized aluminum alloy that’s already 50% cent lighter than last year’s model.

As the crème de la crème of student racing, Formula Student is first and foremost an international construction competition for engineering students. Teams from all over the world come to compete with race cars they have designed and built themselves. Initially launching in 1981 as Formula SAE in the US, the racing series has since taken over Europe, where it’s known as Formula Student. Currently over 600 universities participate in 20 different countries.

Over the last 11 years, the DART team has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with at this world famous racing series, and this year should be no different. The core of the DART racecar is a 3D printed steering shaft from Heraeus group.

"We completely redesigned the part and repeatedly optimized it through simulations to achieve the maximum weight reduction—the combination of materials and construction expertise with printing know-how was crucial for reaching this ambitious goal," said Tobias Caspari, head of Heraeus Additive Manufacturing at Heraeus.

Made from a special aluminum alloy and weighing only 300 grams, this one-of-a-kind steering shaft could secure big prizes for the DART student engineers. And that’s not even counting the 3D printed motor shafts for each wheel suspension, each boasting a weight that’s 50% lighter than their predecessors.

The full specs for the 2017 DART car are available here. Considering what we already know about this 3D printed beast, it sounds like the TU Darmstadt engineers will certainly deliver some tough competition this year.

Heraeus representatives are confident that their 3D prints will play a key role in the DART car’s success. But beyond matters of winning and losing, the race itself is an important occasion for engineers and developing to flex their muscles and push boundaries.

“The Formula Student is a good testing ground for our young development team, where they can test and optimize new designs and materials for additive manufacturing,” said Caspari.

In that sense, Formula Student has a large bearing on the 3D printing industry at large—as a showcase for the sector’s milestones, but also as an indicator of developments to come with 3D printed metals. And considering all the buzz around the DART 2017 race car, that future certainly looks to be a bright one. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting and potentially game-changing Formula Student edition.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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