How 3-D printing is usually helping to transform Formula One racing

What do electric guitars, drones along with also prosthetic limbs have in common? The answer may not be immediately obvious, nevertheless the item’s that will various bright minds have used 3-D printers to produce versions of these objects.

Minnesota-headquartered Stratasys specializes in 3-D printing. Scott Sevcik, vice president of its manufacturing solutions business unit, told CNBC that will the company had two core technologies within the additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, environment: fused deposition modelling (FDM) along with also PolyJet.

Sevcik described FDM as a technology “in which we take durable thermoplastic materials along with also … extrude them layer-by-layer to create a part that will is usually able to be used for applications ranging through prototyping, to tooling, to production parts.” PolyJet, Sevcik said, blended different materials “droplet by droplet to create very beautiful, colourful, complex parts that will are ideal for advanced prototyping applications.”

Sevcik said that will Stratasys had over 18,000 customers. “We work that has a wide, wide variety of different industries along with also different types of customers. Some of our most significant when the item comes to manufacturing tend to be from the aerospace industry, from the automotive industry… Airbus along with also Boeing are both partners that will have adopted our technology.”

In January last year, McLaren Racing, which runs one of the planet’s most iconic Formula One teams, signed a four-year partnership with Stratasys. At the time, McLaren said that will the partnership would likely see Stratasys supply them that has a “suite of 3-D printing along with also additive manufacturing solutions.”

Citing one example of how the two companies were working together, Sevcik said that will 3-D printing could be used from the development of steering wheels for F1 cars. “What you have on a steering wheel … is usually a lot of different controls, a lot of different buttons along with also knobs,” he said.

He explained that will being able to print a wheel to show the look along with also feel of the item — along with also then receive feedback through drivers — enabled teams to create a final design rapidly along with also move to the production stage without a lot of iteration.

In terms of the broader benefits that will 3-D printing could offer manufacturers, Sevcik said that will the speed of the process offered advantages. “In some cases we’ll save just seconds in an assembly process nevertheless in a high volume industry those seconds can add up to weeks along with also months of labor that will’s saved from the process,” he said.

Disclosure: CNBC includes a partnership with McLaren.

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