Along with will.i.am and Stevie Wonder, it seems 3D Systems has gained yet another celebrity fan in the form of U.S. television personality and car enthusiast, Jay Leno, who recently used the company’s 3D printing expertise to reproduce and replace custom vents on his 650 horsepower, hand-built EcoJet concept car.
Positioned behind the EcoJet’s doors, the specially designed vents are critical in ensuring sufficient airflow to the jet engine that powers the vehicle. However, the original vents were extremely delicate and damaged as the car was being pushed out of the workshop. Leno and his team of mechanics and engineers needed to recreate these parts, but did not have access to the original design to guide them.
The team turned to 3D Systems to manufacture the perfect replacements using a combination and 3D scanning and 3D printing. Starting with 3D scan data from the broken vent pieces, the team used 3D Systems Geomagic Design X software to convert 3D scan data into solid, editable CAD models. Working with these models, the team was able to reconstruct and optimise the original vents on-screen in less than half-an-hour. The digital file of the restored vents was then sent to 3D Systems’ on demand parts manufacturing service, Quickparts, to 3D print them using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology.
Experts at Quickparts used 3D Systems DuraForm HST material, a lightweight, fibre-filled nylon ideal for functional prototypes and end-use parts that require stiffness and elevated thermal resistance, to reproduce the part before applying the necessary finishing techniques The finished part significantly improved on the vents’ strength-to-weight ratio using a fraction of the time and money that traditionally manufactured custom vents would require.
This isn't the first time Leno has used 3D printing to restore some of the trickier parts on his collection of cars. Leno has been leveraging the benefits of both 3D scanning and manufacturing technology as part of his show, Jay Leno's Garage for several years.
Jay Leno, commented “It is amazing, how we just take 3D scans and come back with end-use parts that fit perfectly. With 3D printing, the automotive industry has changed more in the last decade than it previously did in the last century.”