Two recent articles show the potential for custom designed objects in competitive racing.
BMW’s F1 team uses several rapid prototyping techniques to create the unique parts used in their Formula One race cars. A series of videos shows many of the techniques, resulting ultimately in the curing of strong carbon-fibre parts placed on the vehicles.
On the other side of the planet, it’s been revealed that 3D printing was used to prepare New Zealand’s Yachting team for their gold medal win at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The yachting venue was notoriously difficult, including not only tricky currents, but also unpredictable wind patterns flowing through nearby urban areas. Haze implied the sailors would not be able to see land and therefore their course traversal would be non-optimal.
Enter sailing buff Peter Dawson, a director of 3D Print Ltd. His expertise led to the development of a sophisticated 3D model that provided the NZ sailors with a means to understand the venue in great detail, leading to the selection of optimal routes. The work paid off, as the team won the gold medal!