Formula 1 racing team adds five 3D printing systems for part production

Sauber Motorsport has added five new ProX 800 SLA 3D printers from 3D printing solutions provider 3D Systems.

Jun 27th, 2018
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Sauber Motorsport (Hinwil, Switzerland), the company operating the Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 (F1) Team, has added five new ProX 800 SLA 3D printers from 3D printing solutions provider 3D Systems (Rock Hill, SC) to its headquarters and engineering facilities in Hinwil, within the scope of a new partnership agreement between 3D Systems and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.

Sauber first started using 3D Systems' solutions more than 10 years ago when it built its additive manufacturing department. The new stereolithography (SLA) systems join existing 3D Systems products used by the F1 team, including six SLS 3D printers. The SLA systems are used predominantly and extensively for wind tunnel testing, but also for tooling for carbon laminating as well as vacuum casting for silicon parts, according to Christoph Hansen, head of additive manufacturing at Sauber.

The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team’s racecar rollhoop part for wind tunnel testing model was produced on 3D Systems' ProX 800 SLA 3D printer with Xtreme material.

Wind tunnel testing is essential for the aerodynamic development of a F1 race car. A 60% scale model of the car is produced for testing in Sauber's wind tunnel located at its headquarters. This model is produced mostly with additive manufacturing--3D Systems' SLS and SLA 3D printers are used for everything from front wings, brake ducts, and suspension covers to engine covers, internal ducts, and hand deflectors. Once the development is approved, the final parts are produced--often in carbon fiber using both conventionally manufactured and 3D-printed molding.

"The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team draws on a variety of 3D Systems' SLA materials to produce tools for different applications. For example, we laminate carbon parts using tools produced in Bluestone material and we use the Xtreme material for vacuum casting tools to produce the sealings," Hansen says.

The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team's C37 race car integrates parts created with the help of 3D Systems' SLA and SLS 3D printing solutions.

In addition to using 3D Systems' additive manufacturing for its own prototyping and production requirements, Sauber also leverages the 3D printers for its engineering services. This enables companies all over Europe to benefit from Sauber's expertise, 3D-printed precision mockups, jigs and fixtures, tooling, and serial production.

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