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Worlds first 3D-printed formula student racing engine produced on SLM® Machine

12/12/2018

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Tân Tiến

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Hun­gar­ian stu­dent team SZEngine has pro­duced the world’s first 3D-printed For­mula Stu­dent rac­ing en­gine using SLM® tech­nol­ogy. All of the main com­po­nents for the 55 hp sin­gle-cylin­der en­gine were pro­duced with the SLM®280 ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tem. The pro­ject is part of a co­op­er­a­tion with the Motor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cen­tre (MAC) of Audi Hun­garia in Győr, Hun­gary.

SZEngine is a team of stu­dents that de­signs and de­vel­ops rac­ing en­gines for teams tak­ing part in For­mula Stu­dent, an in­ter­na­tional rac­ing se­ries in which stu­dents de­velop, con­struct and then race their own cars. SZEngine has now suc­ceeded in pro­duc­ing a com­plete en­gine using se­lec­tive laser melt­ing and the SLM®280 printer at the Motor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cen­tre (MAC) of Audi Hun­garia.

Fig. 1: Györkös Sz­abolcs and Gyuris At­tila from SZEngine with the For­mula Stu­dent rac­ing car.

Se­lec­tive laser melt­ing is one of the key tech­nolo­gies for the pro­duc­tion of func­tional pro­to­types, se­ries parts and com­po­nents in var­i­ous in­dus­tries. As well as en­abling un­prece­dented de­sign free­dom, ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing also makes it pos­si­ble to pro­duce light­weight com­po­nents. This is a huge ad­van­tage in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. This pro­ject began in 2016 when Zoltán Dudás, a 3D metal print­ing spe­cial­ist at Audi Hun­garia, was in­structed to print a fully func­tion­ing en­gine using the SLM®280. At the time, the SZEngine team had al­ready asked the MAC about a co­op­er­a­tion to mill en­gine parts so Dudás de­cided to com­bine the two pro­jects. Dudás al­lowed the stu­dent team to not just mill the com­po­nents, but print them from scratch with the SLM®280 which fea­tures a 280 x 280 x 365 mm3 build en­ve­lope and patented multi-beam tech­nol­ogy.

Fig. 2: The SZEngine team pro­duced a total of nine en­gine com­po­nents using the SLM®280.

The team began by print­ing the tim­ing side of the crankcase. The com­po­nent was de­signed for con­ven­tional pro­cess­ing and re­quired too many sup­port struc­tures so the team de­cided to dig­i­tally re­design the com­po­nent to make it suit­able for 3D print­ing. This task fell to Dániel Kővári, who was the crankcase de­signer in the SZEngine team at the time.

In order to be able to call the en­gine a “3D-printed en­gine”, the team sub­se­quently re­designed all of the other main en­gine com­po­nents. In total, nine en­gine com­po­nents were pro­duced in­clud­ing: a two-part crankcase, the cylin­der, the cylin­der head and cylin­der head cover, as well as the cov­ers for the clutch, tim­ing belt, oil fil­ter and oil pump.

Fig. 3/4: The 3D-printed en­gine (left) is tested on the test bench (right).

After pro­duc­tion, the com­po­nents were me­chan­i­cally processed and mea­sured at the Motor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cen­tre (MAC). They were tested both in­di­vid­u­ally and then together on the SZEngine team’s test bench be­fore being in­stalled into the test car.

Fig. 5: The image shows a torque in­crease in the newly printed EV06 com­pared to the orig­i­nal en­gine.

Dudás and SZEngine are not the only one thrilled with the re­sults. Ralf Fro­hw­erk, Global Head of Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at SLM So­lu­tions, is very pleased with the ground­break­ing pro­ject: “Every day our cus­tomers are plac­ing greater trust in SLM® tech­nol­ogy. This im­pres­sive pro­ject from SZEngine and Audi Hun­garia in Győr clearly shows that metal-based 3D print­ing is not just suit­able for pro­to­types, but can also be suc­cess­fully used for se­ries pro­duc­tion, es­pe­cially small batches. The cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence in com­po­nent de­sign for 3D print­ing shows how ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing can en­able im­prove­ments both in terms of func­tion and per­for­mance.”

Fig. 6: Zoltán Dudás, 3D metal print­ing spe­cial­ist at Audi Hun­garia, to­gether with Michael Schroeder, Re­gional Sales Man­ager at SLM So­lu­tions and Ralf Fro­hw­erk, Head of Global Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at SLM So­lu­tions, hold the com­po­nents pro­duced using SLM® tech­nol­ogy.

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