3D printing takes to the Formula Student track

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Motorsport has always been about speed – the fastest person from A to B wins – but for a group of students entering this year’s Formula Student challenge, it is all about technical ability.

Formula Group T, 16 engineering masters students studying at Group T International University College Leuven, Belgium, have pushed the boundaries of the digital design and manufacturing technology at its disposal and called in a few favours from local additive manufacturing specialists Materialise and Sirris.

The team are aware that its chances of winning the event as it stands are limited (like most years, rumours are abound of German universities being given huge funding by the country’s automotive giants), but by developing parts using the latest technology and some innovative thinking, the team hope it can get them noticed by automotive teams looking for future development stars.

A cross section of the team’s 3D printed air filter

In cooperation with Sirris, Formula Group T have designed suspension uprights in 3D to allow the unsprung mass of the car to be as low as possible. Using Electron Beam Melting with titanium as production material, the use of a micro 3D space frame inside the upright is used to get a very strong and lightweight part that adds to the handling of the car.


Working with Materialise and using its large build area Mammoth stereolithography machines, the most aerodynamic body shell could be designed and printed, allowing the design to have intelligent air cooling to lead cold air from the inlet sidepods directly to the heat source.

Although much of this is unlikely to compete with the sheer upgrades in power and composites available to better funded teams, it shows a great amount of implementing digital design.

We’ll be following the progress of the team over the coming weeks in the build up the competition in July.


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