Renishaw, a British engineering technology company, says they'll put their expertise in additive manufacturing to the test by creating key prototype parts for the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car, a technology and automotive project aimed at breaking 1,000 mph – and in the process setting a new Land Speed Record – during Summer 2015.
The land speed record, which is also referred to as the absolute land speed record, is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled vehicle on land. The record is now achieved by reaching the speed over a course of fixed length and the time is then averaged over those two runs and must be completed within one hour.
Parts designed by Renishaw will literally be leading the way during the attempt. A critical component, the nose tip for the car, will be among the company's contributions to the design.
Engineers say the tip itself will be subject to forces as high as 4,915 lbs/ft². Renishaw is using 3D printing technology to develop a prototype tip in titanium which will be bonded to the BLOODHOUND's carbon-fiber, monocoque front-half of the car.
As the manufacturing resource for the project team, Renishaw plans to produce the nose tip on laser melting machines, which use an additive manufacturing process to fuse together very thin layers of metallic powders to form complex, functional components.
The prototype will then go to the BLOODHOUND team who will examine various manufacturing processes and do further engineering analysis of the part.
"We think the key benefit of using an additive manufacturing process to produce the nose tip is the ability to create a hollow – but highly rigid – titanium structure, and to vary the wall thickness of the tip to minimize weight," said Dan Johns, Lead Engineer for the BLOODHOUND team. "Machining this component in a conventional way would waste as much as 95% of the expensive raw material."
Simon Scott, the Director of Renishaw's Additive Manufacturing Products Division, says his firm's participation as "the only UK manufacturer of a metal-based additive manufacturing machine will inspire a new generation of engineers" in Britain and around the world.