NASCAR Team Uses 3D Printed Titanium Alloy Brake Pedals to Reduce Weight by 32%

August 16, 2021
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NASCAR team uses 3D printed titanium alloy brake pedals to reduce weight by 32%

Recently, the NASCAR team Stewart-Haas team has turned its attention to 3D printing in order to improve the performance of the brake system. According to the team, the racing brake pedal improved through 3D technology will add a big bargaining chip to this year's championship challenge.

The Stewart-Haas team teamed up with Autodesk to use Fusion 360 generative design software to lighten its brake pedal by 32% while improving its rigidity and overall safety. 3D printed with Renishaw’s RenAM 500Q system. The improved pedals are now installed on Cole Custer’s 750-horsepower Ford Mustang. The purpose is to reduce his lap time and help him in the series. Rise in the ranking.

Walter Mitchell, engineering integration manager for the Stewart-Haas fleet, said: "The ability to use Autodesk’s generative design and Renishaw’s metal printing capabilities will open doors that were previously impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. This will improve performance and improve performance. Speed, reduce the lap speed."

3D printing upgrade brake

Like any motorsport, NASCAR is all about subtle profits and the team pushing their designs to the absolute limits of the rules of the sport to gain a competitive advantage. The Stewart-Haas team's cars are currently ranked 10th, 23rd, 24th and 28th respectively in the championship. The team adopted 3D printing technology at the beginning of the season with the purpose of developing upgraded products and improving the ranking of drivers.

Before turning to additive manufacturing, the Stewart-Haas team first worked with Autodesk to use Fusion 360’s iterative design capabilities to refine and simulate the performance of its new brake pedal. Compared with traditional parts, the team was able to modify its design to have a complex lattice-like internal structure, and predictions indicated that it was harder and lighter than before.

According to Mike Grau, the head of Autodesk’s research team, “It turns out that Fusion 360 is critical to the optimization of the pedal. In the past, for additive manufacturing technology, the problem was how you create analog designs, because the components contain these complexities. Lattice structure and hollow structure. How do you create an assembly design that provides an analog design?"latest company news about NASCAR Team Uses 3D Printed Titanium Alloy Brake Pedals to Reduce Weight by 32%  0

△ The 3D brake pedal just printed by Stewart-Haas.

To achieve this goal, Grau said, Autodesk and Stewart-Haas decided to reduce the number of individual elements in their pedal design to a minimum for ease of use. In this way, the company's engineers can create a grid of tens of thousands of elements, instead of millions, which is critical to the simulation process they need to run.

After modifying the design of the brake pedal, Stewart-Haas sent it to Renishaw, where it was 3D printed with titanium alloy and sandblasted to achieve the final use effect. However, due to the safety nature of this component, the team needs to stress test it under race conditions before use, so they imposed a full load limit of 3000 pounds on a custom test fixture.

Under pressure, the upgraded pedal not only successfully avoided malfunctions, but also showed a hardness that was 50% higher than that of the predecessor. For Autodesk, this project finally proved the potential of its software in optimizing racing components. Although the process took two months to complete, the company insists that this timescale can be greatly shortened in the future.

Grau concluded: "Initially we spent a day to create a cell. Two weeks later, we were able to create 30 cells in 30 minutes, but the computer crashed several times. After six months, we were able to create a cell in a few minutes. Complete the design of the entire lattice. If you look at our history and our work, the progress we have made is almost exponential."

Break through barriers with 3D printing

Automakers are increasingly turning to topology optimization and generative design as a means of developing end-use 3D printed parts. Just last year, Fraunhofer IAPT worked with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles engineers to integrate 12 parts of a sports car into a single 3D printed suspension part, which is 36% lighter than the original.latest company news about NASCAR Team Uses 3D Printed Titanium Alloy Brake Pedals to Reduce Weight by 32%  1

Similarly, Porsche is also cooperating with TRUMPF and MAHLE to additively manufacture upgraded engine pistons for its flagship 911 super sports car. By using an artificial intelligence-led 3D printing process, the manufacturer has been able to integrate cooling pipes into the "crown" of the experimental piston, which, once installed, can effectively add 30 horsepower to the vehicle's engine.

Specific to the brake system, in the past few years, some car companies have tried the idea of 3D printing related parts. In July 2019, CarbonPerformance used its proprietary SK3L370N platform to 3D print brake calipers. Soon after, Bugatti managed to achieve a similar goal, using the SLM 500 system to produce titanium calipers.