Functional 3D Printed Automotive Part with Markforged
Olin Baja Case study
The students from the Olin college competes yearly, at the SAE MiniBaja, a multifaceted college college racing competition for small off-road racing vehicles. In this competition, cars constructed from scratch and all its parts are being analysed and judged according to not only how fast they run but also its maneuverability, lightness, strength and toughness.
Problem faced by the team
To transfer power from the output shaft of the engine to the gearbox, a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is being purchased by Olin Baja. A CVT is completely different than a standard transmission as it uses a system of V belts and sprung pulleys to vary gear ratio. With the CVT having many under lying issues. The main issue was that it generated lots of heat due to the friction caused by the belt and the pulleys, in turn reducing the performance. This was the problem faced by the Olin Baja team. They first tried fashioning a custom fan out of sheet metal to circulate air. It was a great idea that pointed towards a long -term solution as with the circulation of air inside in the CVT casing, the friction was being reduced and thus overall performance is increased.
The use of Markforged Printer to print Functional 3D Printed Automotive Part
In 2016, after Markforged printers were announced, the Olin Baja team partnered with them. There they designed and printed a functional impeller to draw air through the enclosure. The impeller attached effortlessly to the driven pulley shaft on the CVT. The part printed was used directly from the print bed without any post processing needed. The impeller was first built using nylon and carbon fiber and this worked well. However, nylon heats up really fast in hot environments and thus the performance was still not as efficient as the team had wanted it to be.
The next impeller was printed using Onyx, a material which combines chopped carbon fibers with nylon. The impeller worked perfectly as the onyx could diffuse heat while simultaneously resisting it. The Markforged printer can create strong, functional and accurate parts. Onyx delivers strong, stiff and dimensional stable parts. No post-processing is required and the Onyx parts can be either printed on its own or further be reinforced with Kevlar, Carbon-fiber, Fiberglass or High-Strength-High-Temperature composites.
Watch how these students used the Markforged 3D Printer to print a Functional 3D Printed Automotive Part
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