Stratasys Ltd., a company that makes polymer 3D printers, worked with luxury car brand Radford to make more than 500 parts for the Lotus Type 62-2 coach built. This is shown in the Discovery+ documentary Radford Returns.
Radford Returns, which is now available to view on Discovery+, chronicles the rebirth of coachbuilding craft via the use of 21st-century technology. The show has Ant Anstead as the host and Jenson Button as the former Formula One champion racing car driver. It chronicles the creation of the retro-modern Lotus Type 62-2 supercar. It's an ideal setup for cutting-edge 3D printing applications. Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the process, from design to prototype, tooling, and eventually, production components using 3D printing technologies from Stratasys FDM®, PolyJetTM, and stereolithography.
"Stratasys’ 3D printing technology gave us the design freedom and ability to easily create customized, one-off pieces and parts for these two prototype vehicles. It gave us the ability to fully embrace customized coachbuilding but with updated processes using 21st century technologies"
-host Ant Anstead.
Over 500 pieces were 3D-printed at the Radford Studio, automotive design and engineering business Aria Group, and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing to create the first two automobiles. The Radford team planned and monitored 3D prints across five global sites using Stratasys' GrabCAD ShopTM workflow software, utilizing a fleet of up to 20 different Stratasys 3D printers at any given moment—a genuine display of distributed manufacturing. Stratasys made a wide range of 3D printers, including the F900®, F770TM, Fortus 450mcTM, F370TM, and J55TM. Each of these printers was used for a different purpose.
"By integrating 3D printing technology into their shop, Radford has been able to bring 1960’s-style supercar automaking into the 21st century with the high-end, hyper-customized style and features that their customers expect in a vehicle of this caliber, It’s an extreme example of something we see every day in the auto industry. Everyone making investments in new vehicles wants a deeper level of customization, and 3D printing is helping make it possible."
-Pat Carey, Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth for Stratasys
The team constructed elements such as a substantial solid composite firewall sandwich core, produced in two halves on the Stratasys F900 printer using ULTEMTM 1010 resin. Without the assistance of a layup tool, the item was glued together into a single piece and then wrapped in carbon fiber. The firewall was intricately designed to accommodate inside speakers, a gasoline filler mount, and the baggage compartment. Furthermore, several external components, such as side mirror housings, radiator ducts, and body vents, were printed utilizing FDM® Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber and ASA materials. Many mounting brackets were printed in FDM Nylon 12 CF because of a variety of reasons, including the car's structural needs, the strict project timetable, and the freedom to be creative.
Anstead continued, When relaunching Radford, we set out to only work with world-class companies.”Lotus is a world-class company, Radford is a world-class company, so when we looked at 3D-printed parts, we looked to Stratasys.
Stratasys will continue to assist the Radford Lotus Type 62-2 project by providing 3D-printed manufacturing components using various 3D printing technologies, including FDM®, SAFTM, stereolithography, and P3TM Programmable PhotoPolymerization.
Visit www.stratasys.com/automobile to learn more about how Stratasys' additive manufacturing technology can help the automotive industry make better parts.