In early 2018, the Volkswagen Group premiered a 3D-printed titanium caliper for Bugatti. Bugatti is the first series manufacture to use titanium, a material calling for extremely complex and challenging processing. Bugatti is definitely raising the bar, as they have established themselves as the pioneer for innovation in the extreme performance sector of the automotive industry. Not only is it the largest brake caliper produced by a 3D printer, but also in the industry. While it’s not ready for production, watching the rigorous testing may just be as exciting. Creating the simulations in a lab, VW claims it produces one of the most powerful brake test benchmarks in existence. The VW Group is pushing through the standards in groundbreaking technology for its supercars: the Veyron, Chiron and Divo.
This particular titanium alloy is mainly used in the aerospace industry. The material offers higher performance than aluminum. During the simulation, the caliper was put on a rotor, which was attached to a machine that spins the rotor. The attached machine monitors the reaction through sensors that translate information back to the engineers. The simulation spins over 230 mph multiple times. The disc temperatures reach 1,877 degrees Fahrenheit during the third spin. At this point, the light show erupts into a array of thermal heat, sparks and flames. Engineers demonstrate when they remove the caliper after simulation, everything remains intact and perfect.
The development time for the 3D-printed titanium brake caliper took about three months. The process takes a total of 45 hours to print a brake caliper. Titanium powder is deposited layer by layer. With each layer, four lasers melt the titanium powder into a shape defined for the brake caliper. The material cools immediately and the brake caliper takes shape. The total number of layers required is 2,213. It receives stabilizing heat treatment to reach its final strength.
The package will likely debut for the Chiron, the Divo, or both. Pricing has not been released but will cost thousands of dollars.
Written By: Andee Oehm
Video Credit: Volkswagen