Owners of the highly coveted Porsche 959 or even the 911 Speedster don’t have to worry about finding replacement parts for their units. They may now drive their cars to their hearts’ content. And that is because of 3D printing technology. This device will allow automakers to put some rare replacement car parts into production - and that should be great news to everyone.
Some of the parts that could be made with 3D printing include the rearview mirror base for the 911 Speedster, fuel cap gasket and clutch release level for the 959, and for the 964 generation of the 911, a crank arm. Lastly, it can also produce the exhaust heat exchanger bracket for the B and C iterations of the 356.
The reason why Porsche Classic keeps a low number of these parts on hand is because of the fact that customers don’t typically need these parts replaced. And because of the low demand, this makes it perfect for the company to build them with 3D printers as they will be made to order instead. In fact, these computer printed pieces have the exact same technical specs as the original parts.
Let us get into more detail about this. Each part requires a different form of 3D printing. For instance, the 959 clutch release level uses a computer controlled additive process, with the use of less than 0.1 percent millimeter of steel powder at a time. This will then be solidified with the use of laser. As for the plastic components, it works with selective laser sintering that heats the raw ingredients to reach just under the melting point. The laser then fuses everything together.
Right now, 3D printed parts are being sold in the market. At the same time, Porsche is testing 20 more components to find out whether they work well.
3D printing may sound new to some people. But in fact, this has been used in the auto industry for quite some time now. Automakers like Bugatti have used this method to create a titanium brake caliper, which we talked about just a couple of weeks ago.
The brake caliper only weighs as little as six pounds six ounces (2.9 kilograms), compared to the existing aluminum part of the Chiron weighing 10 pounds 13 ounces (4.9 kilograms). The next step that it needs to accomplish to get past the development stage is to test the part on the road. If it succeeds, then it will likely go into production.
In the near future, most if not all automakers will probably begin doing the same process in building car parts, this will save them plenty of space because everything will only be produced when ordered.