Ever since the introduction of 3D-printing, there have been countless devices, gadgets, and parts that have been made using this new technology. So much so that 3D printing is being used in making prototype sports cars, and manufacturing spare parts for classic cars.
Now, Porsche is using that type of technology to make pistons for the high-performance 911 GT2 RS. The result? The 3D printed-pistons actually deliver more power and better efficiency. Porsche even claimed that the use of the said pistons makes it possible to get up to 30 PS more from the already powerful 700 PS twin-turbo flat-six.
According to Porsche, 3D printing allows the pistons to be manufactured that are optimized for the loads acting upon itself. This made the pistons be lighter by 10% than forged pistons. Moreover, the new pistons have an integrated and closed cooling duct in the piston crown that could not have been produced using conventional methods.
“Thanks to the new, lighter pistons, we can increase the engine speed, lower the temperature load on the pistons, and optimize combustion. This makes it possible to get up to 30 PS more power from the 700 PS bi-turbo engine, while at the same time improving efficiency,” said Frank Ickinger, member of the Advance Drive Development Department at Porsche.
The 3D printed pistons used on the 911 GT2 RS were made from high-purity metal powder using the laser metal fusion process (LMF). A laser beam heats and melts the powder corresponding to the contoured part. The manufacturing process was made possible with cooperation from partner brands Mahle and Trumpf.
But this is not the first time Porsche has used 3D printing. For instance, 3D printed bucket seats have been available for the 911 and 718 models. Even Porsche Classic has used 3D printing technology to reproduce plastic, steel, and alloy spare parts that were previously no longer available. Those that need to have a release lever clutch for the 959 will be happy to know Porsche makes one via 3D printing.
Around 20 reproduced parts for Porsche classic models are currently manufactured using additive processes. This manufacturing technology is also technically and economically interesting for Porsche for special and small series as well as motorsports.