The Elefant Racing team of the University of Bayreuth proves that sand moulds from a 3D printer are not just used as metal casts but are also ideally suited for laminate templates. Students at the university are building the new seat for their race car on the basis of a sand mould printed by voxeljet.
The idea of using printed sand moulds as positive moulds for laminating is as simple as it is ingenious. Artur Horn, team manager of Elefant Racing, summarises the advantages for the production of the race car seat: "The positive mould gives us the option of 'test-sitting' the new seat before laminating, and to make adjustments if necessary. A sand mould is ideally suited for this purpose, since it can be easily machined with sanding and scraping. However, the current mould from the voxeljet printer was a perfect fit from the start."
The seat was printed at the voxeljet service centre exactly according to the design template in the form of several individual components, which were subsequently assembled. Particularly in cases where sand moulds will be used multiple times, voxeljet recommends that they are filled and sanded prior to laminating, and that a separation layer is applied. During the laminating process, carbon fibre mats are placed over the printed mould and coated with epoxy resin. This process is repeated until the desired material thickness has been achieved. Finally, the seat was put in a vacuum-packed plastic bag and was cured at room temperature.
"We have been supporting the Elefant Racing team for some time, and we never cease to be amazed by the students' creativity, which continues to open up new areas of application for 3D printing technology. We wish the team much success with the new seat, and a successful racing season," says voxeljet CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer.