The world of custom racing has officially reached a new level of specificity and refinement as a team of 16 student engineers from Belgium-based Group T created the “Areion” – the world’s first car made almost entirely of 3D-printed parts. The vehicle was designed for the Formula Student 2012 challenge and tested on Hockenheim race circuit in Germany. It took a mere four seconds for the Areion to accelerate to 100km/hr, eventually reaching a top speed of 141 k/hr.
This year’s Formula Student Challenge held by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers featured the world’s first car made from mostly 3D-printed parts. The Aerion was created using “mammoth stereolithography” – a process of additive manufacturing developed by Materialise that can produce pieces up to 2100mm x 680mm x 800mm in size. The Areion features a number of integrated connection points and clips made to the exact specifications of the designers, and it took only 3 weeks to print the bulk of the components.
The car weighs only 280kg and can achieve a maximum speeds of over 140km/hr. The nose of the Areion was designed with a shark skin texture that reduces drag and and increases thrust. Pods on the sides of the car are outfitted with cooling channels help to optimize air flow to the radiator, forming a cyclone effect that filters water and dirt from the air before reaching the engine. An electric drive train and 3D-printed parts made from biocomposite materials makes the Areion efficient, highly customized, and more environmentally friendly than models that rely on gasoline and more wasteful manufacturing techniques.
The Areion completed two successful races during the first week of August, and garnered Group T a Best Teamwork Award from Airbus and an 11th place finish in the Hockenheim racing circuit. The car continues to compete across Europe, and you can follow their progress through the team’s Formula Group T website.