The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team has integrated 3D scanning and 3D printing into its day-to-day workflows.
Specifically, the team used a 3D scanner to scan its Kawasaki racing motorcycle and optimized the fairing of the 3D model using aerodynamic modeling algorithms. The revamped fairing was produced using a 3D printed mould and installed on the bike prior to the race.
Internal testing showed that the lightweight carbon fibre composite fairing increased the speed of the motorcycle by up to 4km/hour. The team’s driver also noticed the speed improvement, especially on the straight runs of the track.
A need for speed
In the world of motorsports, there are a whole host of factors that affect speed. These include the power of the engine, the weight of the bike, and the aerodynamics of the body. As a result, racing teams place a major focus on aerodynamic modeling and testing, which enable the geometry of the vehicle to be optimized to give that much-needed edge.
However, traditional manufacturing technologies often struggle with complex and free-form shapes, which is where the design freedom offered by additive manufacturing comes in particularly handy. Coupled with 3D scanning, 3D printing can be great in situations where lightweighting and optimized drag profiles are a priority.
To start off, the entire bike was scanned. The bike was then digitized with two different models – one with the fairing and one without. This was done so engineers could accurately model the shape of the underlying mounting points to ensure the new fairing would be a perfect fit. Aerodynamic modeling algorithms were then used to model an optimized fairing geometry: one that would allow for even higher speeds.
Finally, it came time to construct the new fairing. A 3D printer was used to print the fairing moulds. Carbon fibre layers were then laid out in the forms, heated, and filled with a reinforcing material to produce the final fairing. As well as fitting like a glove, the new fairing was lighter and more durable than the original part.
See full story at 3D Printing Industry.