Mainstream media can’t seem to make up its mind about additive manufacturing (AM). Sometimes it’s the best thing since sliced bread, sometimes it’s overhyped. Regardless of the current media take on the technology, it doesn’t take much effort to find AM at work and already making an impact in industries such as automotive, medical and aerospace.
Swedish auto manufacturer Koenigsegg used 3D printing for both the design and manufacturing stages of its newest sports car, the One:1. The company made heavy use of rapid prototyping to ensure various details of the car looked and felt exactly as it wished, including the pedals, foot rest and mirror housing. Every detail of the One:1 was engineered to be as lightweight as possible, following the company’s vision of the perfect vehicle.
Koenigsegg didn’t stop with rapid prototyping. A number of production features were also 3D printed. As is the case for aerospace manufacturing, one reason the company chose to employ AM was the potential for waste and weight reduction offered by 3D printing compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
3D printed parts include the patented variable turbo housing (which the company claims gives improved response and bottom end torque), air ducts, interior mirror pieces, and the titanium exhaust end piece that is 400 grams lighter than a similar piece made from aluminum. Using 3D printed titanium parts to reduce overall weight is a trick the company might have picked up from aerospace manufacturing, where AM-built titanium parts are becoming more common.
Another reason Koenigsegg has decided to use AM for automobile production is cost. The One:1 is a luxury sports car rather than a vehicle that will go into mass production. For lower productions runs, simply building complex parts using AM — rather than attempting to build the tools necessary for other manufacturing methods — actually saves the company money.
Below you’ll find a video about Koenigsegg and 3D printing.