Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Auto Aftermarket e-Zine - Mar 13 Contents AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE MARCH 2013 95
Jamie Whincup's 2012 effort in V8 Supercars saw him join Australian touring car
legends Allan Moffat, Jim Richards and Bob Jane on four championship wins.
But seat of the pants driving and
masterful strategy are not the only elements
that distinguish the winners from the rest.
The creativity and ingenuity of engineers
and machinists behind the scenes are just as
That ingenuity and creativity is a driving
force behind the success of Triple Eight Race
Engineering, which maintains a commitment
to investing in advanced technology.
One investment, a Stratasys Dimension
Elite 3D printer which is sold and distributed
in Australia by Tasman Machinery, has not
only improved the flexibility of the team's
manufacturing processes but also created
more opportunity for engineering innovation.
Machine Shop Manager, Craig Johnstone,
said Triple Eight uses additive manufacturing
to accelerate the rollout of new part designs,
save machine shop time and material
"Motorsports is a very competitive
industry and getting to the end-use parts
faster by rapid prototyping helps us a lot," he
"Programming the CNC machines can
take some time and if I spend a few days
programming something and it is not right,
we lose valuable time.
"Having the 3D printer makes the design
and production process quicker, which
means we can spend more time doing
Triple Eight Race Engineering produces
95 percent of its cars' parts in-house using
the latest technology, which has paid off for
Triple Eight has set new benchmarks for
motorsports in Australia, both on and off the
track and there is certainly a lot more to
come in 2013 with Nissan and Mercedes
joining the category in the first year of Car of
the Future (COTF).
The next-generation COTF has a control
chassis design for the first time in the
category's history, but that hasn't stopped the
weaving of a complex web of individual
production plans tailored to suit each squad's
own expertise, time frames and budgets.
With the pressure to have nine cars ready
for the 2013 season, the Triple Eight
engineers were compelled to make quick yet
accurate decisions during the conceptual
stage of design.
Mr Johnstone said that at least 50 percent
of COTF was new.
"The whole rear end is different, with an
independent rear suspension, gearbox and
differential," he said.
"As a result, getting from concept to
manufacturing quicker was essential to
remain competitive and be ready for the next
"3D printing optimises our design
processes for greatest potential profit by
speeding iterations through product testing."
A highly iterative process can only happen
in a feasible time frame when the engineers
can see quick feedback on design changes.
As a result, Triple Eight designs and prints
some parts such as the rear seat mount
"We printed that part out first to make
sure that it fitted the chassis tubes," Mr
"There are a couple of compound angles
there and we couldn't rely on the fabricated
tube to be dimensionally correct."
While the team only prints out about five
percent of the virtual prototypes, the
Dimension Elite printer is worth the
investment as it saves a lot of time and
money during the iterative design process,
especially for complex parts.
"When the chassis is welded you get some
shrinkage, so what's modelled in CAD is not
necessarily exactly the same as the finished
chassis," Mr Johnstone said.
"The welded chassis can shrink up to
10mm over the length of the whole car; when
you are talking microns or millimetres, that
can make a big difference."
Triple Eight is finding further uses for its
Dimension Elite printer aside from its
traditional rapid prototyping functionality.
"We also manufacture some parts on our
printer," Mr Johnstone said.
"One example is the blower vent on the
"It's hard to tell when you look at it
because it gets painted over, but that part is
made on our 3D printer."
Eliminating the up-front and back-end
operations common to traditional machining
for some complex parts means there is no
extraneous time, cost, or labour.
This is essential in a sport like V8
Supercars where teams strive for even the
smallest technological edge.
The 3D printer introduced fantastic
alternatives in product design and
manufacturing methodology to the Triple
Eight workshop, making the team even more
"The COTF has tightened up some of the
existing rules and every team is doing more or
less the same thing in their workshops, but
there are parts that are open for individual
designs which can make the difference," Mr
"V8 Supercars provides the closest racing
of any touring car category, with the top 20
cars usually qualifying within one second of
"With the COTF chassis being the same
for all teams next year, the smaller teams will
hopefully be able to enjoy more time on the
"Having said that, there are a lot of other
factors involved in winning, and engineering
and clever design is one of them."
Tasman Machinery provides its customers
with local sales and service expertise,
delivering state of the art 3D printing, known
as additive manufacturing technology, for
markets including the automotive sector.
For more information call 03 9584 8355 or
visit www.tasmanmachinery.com.au and head
to Tasman Machinery's stand located at M37
at the AAA Expo.
Take the chequered flag with Tasman Machinery
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