Triple Eight Race Engineering – otherwise known as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team – says using 3D printing technology HP Multi Jet Fusion to make customised steering wheel parts is benefiting the motorsport team through speed of production and decreased costs.
The decision to examine the merits of producing steering wheel components using 3D printing technology began in early 2017 when EVOK3D – an Australia-based 3D printing solutions company and HP partner – visited Triple Eight Race Engineering to show some HP Multi Jet Fusion parts it had made.
“We were blown away with the part quality and strength, compared to what we were used to,” Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Mark Dutton said.
“We realised we needed to have access to this technology to improve a whole host of components.”
This aligned with a broader discussion with HP and resulted in a joint partnership in EVOK3D, HP and Triple Eight Racing Engineering. Currie Group is indirectly also involved in the project, having signed a partnership equity agreement in October 2019 with EVOK3D.
Three main pieces of race car steering wheel components are now being produced using the technology – a two-part mould to form the soft polyurethane exterior that wraps around and cushions the steering wheel; lightweight cores that sandwich the armature plate and form the bulk of the steering wheel rim; and the housing for the mounting of switchgear and lights to the hub.
Triple Eight wanted to 3D print these pieces to accelerate the manufacturing process and allow for light-weighting and customisation to enhance driver ergonomics.
The design freedom that comes with using HP MJF technology has allowed Triple Eight to reduce the weight of the parts and customise the steering wheel grip based on the driver’s anatomy. By tailoring the grip to the driver’s individual needs, drivers can achieve better control of the vehicle, execute more precise steering inputs, and benefit from enhanced comfort.
EVOK3D is a specialised 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company that has been in operation for seven years and is HP’s 3D Production Specialist Partner in Australia.
Its core business is supplying and supporting professional and production 3D printing solutions which includes machinery, consumables and software.
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