3D printing helps prototype car that will travel faster than a bullet

The BLOODHOUND Project is an international education initiative focused around a 1,000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt. The core aim is to inspire young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects) by showcasing these subjects in exciting ways. The Project Director is Richard Noble and the Program Architect is Dan Johns.

This car will be powered by a jet engine and a rocket as it attempts to go at least 1,000 mph. Key parts of the car were designed using 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) technologies.

This “ultimate racing car,” according to some, is a fusion of cutting edge science and engineering. One of the reasons 3D printing was chosen was to reduce material waste. To machine a component from a billet of aluminum can produce 80% waste. The equivalent produced using AM creates just 6% and removes the energy hungry process of manufacturing the billet.

BLOODHOUND engineers are using additive manufacturing in several crucial components, including:

• the steering wheel,

• the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) gearbox housing,

• the high load parachute strop brackets

• and the bolt fixtures that will hold the carbon fiber front end to the metallic rear chassis.

The prototype steering wheel

The steering wheel forms the vital contact point between driver Andy Green and the Hakskeen Pan, a desert area in the North Western corner of South Africa, streaking below him at 3.6 seconds per mile. The grips on the W shaped wheel will be specially molded to his hands and manufactured from powdered Titanium. This complex hollow design could not be produced in one piece using conventional manufacturing methods. The prototypes were manufactured from powdered nylon by Materalise.

This “ultimate racing car,” according to some, is a fusion of cutting edge science and engineering. One of the reasons 3D printing was chosen was to reduce material waste. To machine a component from a billet of aluminum can produce 80% waste. The equivalent produced using AM creates just 6% and removes the energy hungry process of manufacturing the billet.

BLOODHOUND engineers are using additive manufacturing in several crucial components, including:

• the steering wheel,

• the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) gearbox housing,

• the high load parachute strop brackets

• and the bolt fixtures that will hold the carbon fiber front end to the metallic rear chassis.

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