3D Systems, the leader in consumer and industrial 3D printing and manufacturing solutions, has announced that it will replace custom vents on Jay Leno’s 650 horsepower, hand-built EcoJet concept car.
The specially designed vents, which are positioned behind EcoJet’s doors, are critical in ensuring sufficient airflow to the jet engine that powers the vehicle.
The original vents broke as the car was being pushed out of the workshop and Mr Leno – who regularly uses 3D Systems’ printers, materials and software to restore and maintain his collection of more than 200 vehicles – needed to recreate these delicate parts by relying on the 3D printing technology once again.
Because they did not have access to the original design to guide them, Leno and his team turned to 3D Systems to digitally manufacture perfect replacements.
“The team first used 3D Systems Geomagic Design™ X software to convert 3D scan data from broken vent pieces into solid, editable CAD models. Working with these models, the team was able to reconstruct and optimise the original vents on-screen in less than half-an-hour, wherein traditional methods would have taken nearly a week of hand modeling per vent due to the EcoJet’s custom-built asymmetry,” 3D Systems said in a press release.
“Leno’s team then sent the digital file of the restored vents to 3D Systems’ on demand parts manufacturing service, Quickparts®, to 3D print them using the company’s Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology and apply the necessary finishing processes.”
By selecting Quickparts, Leno and his team gained access to the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials, including 3D Systems DuraForm® HST, a lightweight, fibre-filled nylon ideal for functional prototypes and end-use parts that require stiffness and elevated thermal resistance.
The team of experts at Quickparts was able to deliver the ultra-clean lines and robust physical properties demanded of the EcoJet and to significantly improve the vents’ strength-to-weight ratio using a fraction of the time and money that traditionally manufactured custom vents would require.
“It is amazing, how we just take 3D scans and come back with end-use parts that fit perfectly,” Mr Leno said.
“With 3D printing, the automotive industry has changed more in the last decade than it previously did in the last century.”