Stratasys and USA Luge will additively manufacture customized racing sleds for 2018 Winter Games
Stratasys announced its collaboration with USA Luge to exploit additive manufacturing into a quest for gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea this month. Leveraging the capacities of Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing system, USA Luge will quickly build and test customized racing sleds tailored to the body of each athlete.
Additive manufacturing advantages for engineering mandrels
3D printing is essential for the racing team’s Doubles Tower – a composite structure at the sled’s front, that enables to precisely position riders’ legs during competition. Due to complex, trapped-tool geometry, it should be said that it is not easy at all to manufacture. The truth is that the structure guarantees proper athlete fit and position while racing.
Using the Stratasys ST-130 sacrificial (wash-out) tooling material, the Luge team 3D printed the mandrel, layup and cure the composite structure on the one hand; on the other hand, wash-out the tooling material. Furthermore, it took less than one week to achieve that.
Jon Owen, USA Luge Technical Programs Manager, explained that competitive luge racing is a very demanding sport. Time means everything here in the sense that fractions of a second are the difference between winning and losing. Therefore, riders depend on comfortable, aerodynamic sled designs to win competitions.
Thanks to the collaboration with Stratasys, “we’ve balanced both comfort and performance by tailoring the sled to each rider’s body, while minimizing fabrication cost and time”, adds Jon Owen.
Based on the success of Doubles Tower construction, the Luge team has pushed the technology even further by additively manufacture the entire sled body layup tool. This specific design integrates a removable middle section, allowing tool length to adjust based on each rider’s height. Driven by these efforts during prototyping, designers are currently using this same tooling for final sled components during competition.
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