The team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) is gearing up to set a 1,000 mile per hour speed record in summer 2015 – and to accomplish the feat they’re turning to 3d printing technology to create a custom ultra-light nose cone. If all goes well, the first thing to break the 1,000 mile per hour speed barrier will be a 3D printed part.
It might sound like lunacy, but the cone tip for the car won’t be a piece of plastic spit out by any old MakerBot. Instead Bloodhound has teamed up with Renishaw to develop a cone fabricated out of titanium. Using a AM250 manufacturing-grade laser melting machine, the collaborating teams were able to create a metal cone by using laser sintering to melt fine layers of metallic powder into a one solid object.
The 3D printing process also allowed the team to create a cone that’s mostly hollow inside, which makes it lightweight. At the same time, the fabricated part has an engineered internal structure that is rigid enough to withstand the 12 tons per square meter force of going supersonic. Dan Johns, lead engineer at Bloodhound SSC, says that machining the part the traditional way would have been extremely difficult and could have wasted as much as 95-percent of the raw material. In the end the 3d printed part saved money and Earth’s precious resources.
Images © Bloodhound Supersonic Car