It's one of the biggest auto brands you'll find anywhere and owners include such cash-rich types as LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, permanently-disgruntled Premier League footballer Wayne Rooney and the suddenly uber richer Madridista Cristiano Ronaldo
That makes the Bentley Motors marquee prized among the rich and social climbing set, and now 3D printing is part of the mix as automotive designers and engineers test Bentley cars and different materials. The company takes bits from standard manufacturing processes, scales them down to models and even builds full-scale cars before sending them off to the line for completion.
Walter Owen Bentley and his brother, Horace Millner Bentley, made their fortune selling French cars in the years before World War I, but the pair had harbored a desire to design and build their own eponymous cars.
In 1921, Bentley Motors Ltd. produced their first automobile with an engine designed by a former member of the Royal Flying Corps. Featuring bulletproof durability, the cars went on to become synonymous with understated luxury and magnificent attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Long envied for their handcrafted construction and sedate-but-stately design, Bentley Motors is now at the forefront of the additive manufacturing and design curve as well.
Using Stratasys 3D printing machines, the design team can speedily create and test how different parts will function and appear on the way to becoming a finished product.
With parts cranked out from a Stratasys Objet500 Connex multi-material 3D Printer, Bentley designers test a wide variety of materials and their properties to build nearly any necessary part used on the iconic vehicle's interior or exterior. Bentley Motors engineers have made wheel rims and tires, tail pipe trims and lots of other fittings on their test-bed cars.
This allows design teams to 3D print, using Stratasys rubber-like materials, a range of parts to test degrees of hardness and wear resistance. David Hayward, Operations and Projects Manager for the Bentley Design Studio, says parts move from 1/10th to 1/3th to full-scale as part of the process.
"The advantage of going to the full-size machine is that we've got the ability to use multi-materials within the same printing process," says Hayward. "We also have the ability to create rubber components as well, and there's a variety of tensile strengths."
Of course, owning such an exceptional vehicle requires one to carry on in style, and that may well mean purchasing the Bentley for Men line of fragrances. That odoriferous lineup features distinctive packaging designed by 3D printing, and decanters featuring the Bentley Motors logo and knurled radiator cap cover.
The fragrances presumable reek of fresh bank notes and beautifully tanned hides from exotic, though refined and shampooed, jungle beasts.