Formula Student is the high profile international construction competition that gathers engineering students. First launched in 1981 as Formula SAE in the United States, the race series increasingly mushroomed in Europe, where it is known as Formula Student.
Today, more than 600 universities from 20 countries participate through teams that come with racing cars they designed and manufactured.
For the 2017 Formula Student competition, the “DART” team made up of engineering students of TU Darmstadt (Germany) decided to introduce themselves with an electric racing car. To present an innovative car to this competition, the DART team of TU Darmstadt integrated 5 ultra-light 3D printed components into their cars, including a steering shaft made from an aluminum alloy. 3D printed by the company “Heraeus“, it only weighs 300 grams.
Tobias Caspari, head of additive manufacturing at Heraeus explains, “[they] completely redesigned the part and repeatedly optimized it through simulations to achieve the maximum weight reduction—the combination of materials and construction expertise with printing know-how was crucial for reaching this ambitious goal.”
Heraeus representatives are convinced that their 3D impressions will play a key role in the success of the DART car. However, beyond the issues of winning and losing, the race itself is an important opportunity for engineers and developers to flex their muscles and push the limits.
According to Tobias Caspari “the Formula Student is a good testing ground for [their] young development team, where they can test and optimize new designs and materials for additive manufacturing.”
In this context, Formula Student is an additional showcase for companies in the 3D printing industry in general. One can expect for the next competitions to see the participation of many cars that made use of 3D printing in their manufacturing.