A team of students from the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany was racing to victory thanks in part to additive manufacturing company EnvisionTEC. Acting as a sponsor, EnvisionTEC provided support and 3D printing expertise to the German students in the development of an electric race car.
The partially 3D printed electric racing car was designed by StarkStrom Augsburg eV, a non-profit association dedicated to promoting electromobility research at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences. Since its founding in 2011, the association has brought students from the university together to build electric racing cars to compete in Formula Student Germany (FSG), an international design competition for student-designed single-seat formula race cars.
Last year, the StarkStrom Augsburg eV team reached out to Nuremberg-based 3D printing service Dreigeist (a distributor of EnvisionTEC 3D printers) for a sponsorship opportunity. Through this encounter, global additive manufacturing company EnvisionTEC not only enlisted as a Silver sponsor but also offered its expertise in automotive 3D printing to the student team.
Arguably the most important element that EnvisionTEC contributed was a motor cooling system for the race car. By engineering and 3D printing sealed water jacket components using the company’s Perfactory 4 Standard XL 3D printer, the Augsburg team was able to successfully carry heat away from the motors using high-pressure coolant.
Printed at a resolution of 50 µm, each sealed water jacket part took 17 hours to manufacture using the Direct Light Projection system. This level of resolution and accuracy ensured that the parts could withstand the pressure of the racing vehicle while allowing for the maximum flow of water to cool the motors down.
For the highest quality in surface finish, the team relied on EnvisionTEC’s HTM 140 V2 material, a high-temperature molding material developed for non-metal masters. The material, along with the 50 µm resolution, allowed for the vehicle component to be manufactured with accuracy and a smooth interior surface finish, maximizing the flow of coolant towards and away from the motors.
“The parts produced were both strong enough for racing and hardy enough to withstand the high motor and water temperatures,” said Lukas Dehlinger, Mentor Drivetrain at StarkStrom Augsburg eV. “The jackets allowed for the efficient cooling of motors that in turn allowed us to run harder. The cooling also helped to preserve the motors.”
Eventually, the 3D printed sealed water jackets were integrated into the four-wheel drive racing vehicle, equipped with 12.3 kW motors on each wheel. With the ability to keep the high-powered motors cool while driving, and with 80PS and 287 Nm per wheel, the student-built race car was able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 2.7 seconds. The 3D printed components were crucial in reducing the risk of overheating motors which in turn ensured reliable performance.
“Huge thanks to the EnvisionTEC team for their support,” added Dehlinger. Their engineering experience coupled with the 3D printers and automotive-focused materials were essential to the performance of the car.”