LONDON–UK-based automotive manufacturer AP Racing has been involved in every Formula One championship since 1967. Focused primarily on manufacturing performance brake and clutch systems for road and race cars, its systems have been used in cars that have amassed 818 Formula 1 wins.
Always striving to push the boundaries for its customers, AP Racing first established its in-house 3D printing capabilities over 15 years ago. Initially focused on prototyping, the team soon expanded to tooling and final-production parts.
However, as briefs became more complex and the competition more aggressive, the company needed a technology that could simultaneously produce highly detailed (0.014mm resolution), accurate, multi-color prototypes and advanced multi-material tools. The company bought a Stratasys J750 3D printer to reduce design cycles and alleviate certain design challenges.
Bringing ideas to life
Designing a brake or clutch system is highly complex, with parts exposed to dynamic loads with high initial peaks. When designing components such as calipers, the AP Racing team completes in-depth FEA (finite element analysis) plots for inspection. This analysis is essential to determine how the brakes and clutches will best operate within the car, and how load will be distributed through the component.
Engineers at AP Racing are using the full-color, multi-material 3D printer to produce highly detailed and complex 3D models of FEA stress plots that provide proof of concepts to its customers, resulting in new business wins.