Additive manufacturing has brought titanium upright to the road with a hypercar that can go from 0-60 in less than 2.5 seconds.
The automotive industry is one of the biggest adopters of additive manufacturing technology. F1 vehicles have leveraged its benefits to create faster and more efficient vehicles and most recently, the first ever fully 3D printed car was printed and driven in a matter of days.
Kepler Motors recently sought the help form experts in Formula 1 and additive manufacturing to produce not just a supercar but rather a hypercar, the MOTION. Founder Russ Wicks wanted to produce a car using state or the art engineering. Choosing additive manufacturing in favour of adapting previously designed high performance cars, he set out with a team of specialists to analyse each component and material to achieve optimum performance levels.
Kepler partnered with CRP Group, a company specialising in the latest technological solutions, to work with their dedicated additive manufacturing and 3D printing unit, CRP USA and CRP Meccanica.
The result was a design that was created without limitations faced by traditional manufacturing methods. Completely rethinking the design process, Kepler Motors Engineering Director, Derk Hartland got to work by designing the hypercar from the inside out.
“It is very common for a company to rethink their design as soon as they understand the potential with 3D printing,” said Stewart Davis, Director of Operations, CRP USA. “Once an engineer understands the possibility of manufacturing highly complex designs and shapes using additive manufacturing technology and applications, shapes that could not be manufactured by traditional processes, they begin designing without limitations. By combining 3D printing, rapid casting and precision CNC machining, engineers can think outside of traditional manufacturing methods and design complex, intricate parts.”
Sitting on a carbon fibre composite monocoque chassis and body, F1 style double wishbone and pushrod suspension with cast titanium uprights, these optimised parts ensure the car is strong, lightweight, elegant and performs to the highest level.
“Lightweight, strength and durability is essential for the hypercar to achieve its performance,” said Russ Wicks Founder Kepler Motors. “Cast titanium is top-of-the-line technology for this application, which for the Kepler MOTION was the only choice. Other cars use aluminum cast or billet for this application with a bulky, weaker and heavier result. Typically, aluminum is used for the uprights and the material thickness is increased, which reduces the flexibility of the design. Because of the increased material thickness, accuracy of the machining is critical to ensure correct position of components as well as complicated angles of machined faces.”
CNC machining a crucial step in the process but can prove restrictive when it comes to creativity. Working with CRP Meccanica allowed the team to streamline the process utilising their laser sintering additive manufacturing technology to 3D print the pattern ready for casting in titanium.
Wicks adds: “The results were better than we could have imagined.”