Graphite Additive Manufacturing are pleased to announce that their specialist 3D printed, carbon ﬁbre reinforced plastic material, once the exclusive province of Formula One teams, is now available to all customers.
Graphite, an experienced supplier of 3D printed parts and rapid prototypes, has announced it is in a unique position to provide its customers with carbon ﬁbre reinforced SLS® (Selective Laser Sintering) parts, as it is currently the only service bureau in the UK market with a dedicated machine to run these highly advanced sintering materials. The carbon fibre reinforced plastic in the parts built by Graphite offers both the highest stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios of any 3D printed plastic on the market today.
Since the development of carbon-reinforced SLS materials in 2004, these proven products have been the materials of choice for ‘on-car’ applications on Formula One cars. It is not only the speed of production of 3D printed parts, allowing them to progress rapidly from a design concept to the racetrack that gives them a competitive advantage but also that they combine the enhanced mechanical properties of low density, high stiffness and sustainable accuracy at elevated temperatures, making them an ideal fit with F1. Within the Formula One industry, wings, ducts and brake caps are now routinely manufactured using Carbon-SLS.
Replacing a ‘traditional’ carbon composite part with Carbon-SLS can reap even greater benefits when the part design is optimised for the additive manufacturing technology. By exploiting the freedom in design offered by 3D printing, components can be built more efficiently by integrating features and functionality such as cooling channels, bores, threads and cores.
Without the constraints of conventional machining, finite element analysis and optimisation can be utilised to precisely locate where the stresses are in a required component. It is then possible to employ the minimum volume of material required to withstand such loads in the design of that component. This results in a part geometry that puts material only where it is needed and not as a result of any physical or financial constrictions of the part manufacturing process. Coupled with Graphite’s ability to build bespoke, one-off components using their SLS systems, the uses of this process and material combination are almost limitless.