One of the oldest and most formidable racing teams in America has turned to 3d printing to provide it with an edge on the track.
Penske Racing, the North Carolina based outfit that races stock cards, indy cars and plenty of others had been looking for ways to make their teams faster on the track and faster in the pits.
"One hidden benefit of 3D printing is that it allows you to do things faster," Jim Vurpillat, Director of Automotive and Aerospace at Stratasys told Forbes this weekend. Stratasys has been supplying Penske with high end 3d printers to create prototypes for race cars, actual parts for race day and tools for the pit team.
"Racing engineers are always trying to get another tenth of a second. With 3D printing, you can do multiple iterations. We want them to have options to try, simulate, see how they work, make design changes, and tweak it again. It improves the cycle of part development."
In addition to testing, Penske has turned to additive manufacturing (3d printing) to make their pit crews more efficient on race day by lightening the fuel tanks that crewmen must hold up to refuel their driver's race cars, with customized parts.
"We work with them to say - instead of traditional tooling or buildup, print the tool. The teams get it faster and quicker, and often with improved capabilities since the tools often have complex geometries."
By placing 3d printing technology into the hands of some of the smartest minds in racing, Vurpillat is hoping that new utilities can be found for his company's technologies that can be applied to everyday life.
"A lot of partnerships in motorsports focus on marketing," he said, "but this one for me is deeply rooted in the technical benefits. For us, this is a way to move technology and applications further and faster."