3D Print Show: how Strakka Racing used 3D printing to run at le Mans

Strakka-Racing-S103It was abandoned after 264 rounds, but the Dome S103 of Strakka Racing will remain in the history of motor racing for having participated in the legendary 24 hours of le Mans. This prototype of endurance, of the LMP2 category has resorted to printing 3D for various pieces. Kieron Salter, founder of KW Motorsport, the car manufacturer, came to explain on the 3D Print Show how he used 3D printing that the car be ready the day J.

3D printing, well adapted to the needs of motor sport

The world of motor sport is an ideal scope for 3D printing. Very small series, substantial resources and especially a race against perpetual time for designers, printers are used both in formula 1 in LMP1 and LMP2, two formulas prototypes allowed to take the start of the 24 hours of le Mans. The first day of the 3D Print Show, Kieron Salter, founder of KW Motorsport spoke the challenge asked by Strakka Racing team: “we had 8 weeks to solve a specific problem, design and manufacture parts of the door.” “These are produced in carbon fibre.


Kieron Salter, founder of KW Motorsport on the stage of the 3D Print Show Paris.

Regulation of the FIA having changed, KW Motorsport has the design a new door for the car. A most important piece as it seem because during the nearly 400 laps of the race, the team must be 30 refuelling. The driver changes are frequent and no second should be lost due to a door not ergonomics or not enough reliable. In addition, the ease of extraction of the pilot of its cockpit is an important point in the homologation of the car. “We had to reduce the possible this cycle of design and manufacture and minimize the risk of delay and be sure that we could provide this piece for the date of homologation of the car.” “This is a crucial date for a team because if you miss it, you miss the race.


The 3D model of the new door designed by MK Motorsport for the Dome S103 of Strakka Racing Le Mans 2015.

The entire door, with its joints, traps, complete mechanisms and equipment represents 200 different parts. It is a relatively complex blend. To reduce the risk of delay, KW Motorsport has opted to use its 3D printers to print the door before launching its carbon production. The company has 3 type printers Stratasys FDM 400 to make prototypes of parts. “We therefore printed the ABS, the perfect replica piece of what will be the final piece.” Printing took 72 hours. This allowed us to validate the geometry of the door, validate the operation of opening mechanisms, the visibility offered to the driver. “It allowed us to have more time before sending the production piece because we guarantee that it would be perfect at the time of the installation.” The door of a relatively large size, was produced in 3 pieces that were glued between – they.

Strakka Motorsport LMP2In addition to this exhibit prototype, KW Motorsport has resorted to printing titanium for the fittings of the doors but also plastic parts for the brake cooling ducts. “3D printing is not a truly new concept” says Kieron Salter. “My first experience with 3D printing dates back to 1998 with models produced in paper cut layer by layer, it was very slow but it was already printing 3D. We serve him then to make prototypes, conduct tests in a wind tunnel. What has most changed since it is essentially available as well as materials available software “.” The question of the cost of this technology compared to traditional production solutions, the founder of KW Motorsport highlights: “it is true that the cost of 3D printing may seem high for individuals.” In our world and for industrialists, these technologies are not as horribly expensive as it seems. “The acquisition cost is comparable to ‘ a classic CNC machine and speed provided by printing 3D at a great value for us.

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