Fusion of 3D printing and engine development

The idea of ​​a 3D printed engine first came up during a consultation with Audi Hungaria engineers, and in 2016, its development began in close cooperation. Our goal was primarily to examine the production technology and use of 3D printing in the automotive industry, as well as research and development opportunities. The Audi Hungaria Zrt. Pilot Engine Manufacturing Center and the metal 3D printer they use, developed by SLM Solutions AG, helped with this goal. The basis of the unit that is the subject of the research was the EVO4 motor construction previously developed and assembled by our team, whose components were modified in accordance with the needs of the printing technology.

The cylinder, cylinder head, entire crankcase and all of the casing surrounding the engine are made from 3D sintered aluminum components. After printing, all parts were CNC machined. After that, manual post-processing took place at us to eliminate problems arising during assembly, such as the combustion chamber, intake and exhaust duct surfaces, and internal surfaces in contact with oil. First we did part-by-part tests as the engine was compatible with the machined parts, then assembled and tested on our dyno. In order to reduce the loads, a gentle application was written for the engine, so it was finally calibrated to 50 horsepower. The largest components of the internal combustion engine are made with a much more favorable and efficient production technology, the additional advantage of which is better material structure, weight and cost efficiency in the examination of unique, prototype parts. In addition, when creating complex geometries, thanks to laser sintering, it is also possible to try component designs that differ from traditional constructions.

A very important aspect in the development of racing engines is the fast and efficient testing of various unique component designs, which, thanks to 3D printing, ensures a much freer, more economical and time-saving implementation in the automotive industry as well. A well-functioning example of the promotion and applicability of the technology is SZEngine’s 3D printed internal combustion engine, since after the successful tests we had the opportunity not only to exhibit, but also to demonstrate the use of our engine and 3D printing technology under working conditions in a presentation at the Formula Student East competition.

Printed motor show at ZalaZone track, 2018 FSEast