Eagle, a British restorer of the Jaguar E-Type car, can achieve the bespoke, low-volume production it needs thanks to a partnership with Graphite Additive Manufacturing Ltd., an England-based 3D printing service. More specifically, Graphite Additive Manufacturing provides Eagle with custom 3D printed parts made using the HP Jet Fusion 4200 system.
Eagle was founded in 1984 and has a very specific mission: to restore the luxury Jaguar E-Type, a vintage sports car that was in production from 1961 to 1975. Part of Eagle’s unique offering is that it can bring the convertibles up to a modern day standard of quality. This process, which takes about 4,000 hours, results in a re-manufactured (rather than restored) car that the company proudly calls the Eagle E-Type.
For four years, the automotive specialist has worked with Graphite Additive Manufacturing, leveraging its 3D printing resources and expertise to produce one-off or small batch parts, including air conditioning and heating air ducts, for the E-Type vehicles. Crucially, 3D printing has enabled Eagle to significantly reduce turnaround times for its restored vehicles.
“Since we began using HP’s 3D printing technology for production, we’ve been impressed by the improvement in how these parts look as well as their durability,” commented Paul Brace, director at Eagle. “HP’s 3D platform consistently delivers the desired finish which is very important to our process. The heating ducts need to be attractive enough to sit on the dashboard, and these parts match the exceptional quality of our classic cars. Additional benefits we’ve seen include the wider scope for shapes that we can now create using 3D printing, and the weight reduction in materials on offer. This adds value for customers who are keen to keep parts as lightweight as possible.”
HP’s highly automated process has benefitted both Graphite Additive Manufacturing (in terms of workflow) and Eagle (in terms of turnaround times). The automotive restorer had previously faced challenges in sourcing certain components because of the low volumes it required. The company only produces four to five E-Types a year, and due to model variations, the parts often have to meet different technical specifications. In other words, Eagle needs bespoke parts in low volumes, sometimes even as little as one per year. AM has proven to be the only financially viable production method for this.
“The capabilities of HP’s 3D printing solutions are ideal for the production of custom-made, high-quality car parts provide a host of solutions for the automotive sector, and we’re excited to see how it helps shape the future of car manufacturing in the coming years,” added George Brasher, UK&I Managing Director at HP. “It’s exciting to see Eagle’s commitment to innovation as they take advantage of the efficient, flexible design and customisation enabled by HP 3D solutions for its market leading bespoke vehicles.”