The Dakar Rally is a brutal annual race that has taken part in Saudi Arabia for the last few years. This year, it will once again return to Saudi Arabia, where drivers from around the world will push their cars to breaking point in one of the most mechanically demanding challenges in the automotive sphere.
To gain an advantage in this year’s rally, the Sodicars team has collaborated with Nebrija University and ArcelorMittal to redesign and improve their BV2 car with additive manufacturing. You can see that car in the image below.
In particular, a component connecting the side box of the car with the bargeboard was optimised and 3D printed, achieving a 20% weight reduction. The teams used an LPBF-based process to print the component in a 17-4PH steel alloy, which was subsequently heat-treated.
The partnership between the two entities began a few years ago with the development of a 3D printed motorbike frame, which showed that steel could offer a lighter solution than aluminium when optimised correctly and 3D printed.
The project is being led by Nebrija University, and has a team of undergraduate and master’s students from Nebrija Polytechnic. The collaboration has focused on the development of parts supporting the car’s sidepods, with ArcelorMittal’s team using 3D printing and a steel alloy to create a lightweight component that met with specific design constraints.
Such constraints included analysis of the points where the component is fastened to the vehicle, the aerodynamic requirements, and the simulation of forces the component is exposed to.
The joint work of the teams has allowed for the production of the printed parts within three weeks of receiving the case study.
The short development and production cycles for new components allows for easy adaptation to changes and new requirements in the racing vehicles.
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