However, it was not just turnaround times that the team had to consider. With engine temperatures expected to surpass 100 º C, the prototype needed to withstand the high pressure of incoming air as well as the extreme mechanical and thermal loads created during test drives. Thanks to the engineering-grade materials available on the Stratasys F900, the team was able to produce the airbox in FDM® Nylon 12CF™ material — a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic that can endure temperatures of over 140 º C. Nylon 12CF offered the design team the chance to test the complex airbox design in a material that accurately mimicked the real thing. “Access to the carbon fiber reinforced Nylon 12CF was integral for this development process. The prototype was as close performance-wise as if we had produced the prototype in carbon fiber reinforced plastic made from a mold. It also withstood the tests on the track with ease,” explained Briggs. The Mono R is 20 mm lower and 25 mm longer than its predecessor, meaning that every single millimeter mattered.
To effectively test the airbox, it needed to accurately fit the car — with no room for error — despite its large and complex geometry. This was helped by the printing tolerances of the F900, which enables parts to be produced to 0.089 mm accuracy. “The freedom of design offered by Stratasys’ industrial 3D printers was essential for the airbox. We were able to tweak the design and not worry that the final 3D printed version wouldn’t match the exact size or geometry we needed,” Briggs added. To continue innovating in the future, the team at BAC has now shifted its mindset to include designing with the capabilities of additive manufacturing in mind. “The development of the Mono R needed ultimate precision, something to which additive manufacturing lends itself perfectly. We saw this first-hand with the use of Stratasys’ industrial system in the production of the airbox, and for the first time its effects were felt throughout the car,” concluded Briggs.
* Winner of Design & Innovation category at Northern Automotive Alliance Awards 2019, having demonstrated “an outstanding vision for design and provided unique, innovative solutions”.