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Rodin Cars
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3D Systems Supplies Expertise, Technology for Custom Gearbox

June 29, 2021
A developer of high-performance racing sourced metal-additive manufacturing design and production capabilities for a first-of-its-kind titanium component.

Rodin Cars claims its single-seat, open-wheel vehicles are designed to be faster than contemporary Formula 1 cars. Before the Rodin FZero, it introduced the Rodin FZed in 2019, also with a gearbox designed by Ricardo.

“With the Rodin FZero gearbox, we had specific criteria we wanted to meet in terms of weight and durability,” Dicker explained. “Because of the size and quality required for such a large component, it was only possible to print it on 3D Systems’ DMP Factory 500 machine. We couldn’t source another AM supplier who was able to offer a similar solution for our needs - the print quality, volume capacity, testing facilities in Leuven, and continued technological support.”

Rodin Cars engineers worked with 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) to produce the custom-design gearbox, which has 2-mm-thick walls and weighs only 68 kg. 3D Systems AIG application engineers in Littleton, CO, optimized the gearbox print design for additive manufacturing at the large scale achievable on 3D Systems’ DMP Factory 500 printer, and the first part was produced at the AIG location in Leuven, Belgium.

The customized gearbox for the new Rodin FZero resulted from an 18-month design process by Rodin Cars and Ricardo, a British engineering firm. They developed a Grade 23 titanium casting to house a hydraulically controlled differential. Metal additive manufacturing was the only way to achieve the internal galleries and thin-wall bearing and mount structures, according to 3D Systems report.

3D Systems develops production processes for additive manufacturing, as well as programming and simulations software, and it develops and supplies raw materials for those operations, including wax used to produce investment casting patterns. The group’s selective laser sintering (SLS) technology produces finished parts, and its stereolithography (SLA) is used to produce tooling for carbon-fiber forms.

3D printing allows us to design and create components otherwise unachievable using traditional methods of manufacturing,” stated Rodin Cars’ founder David Dicker.

Rodin Cars, a New Zealand-based manufacturer of high-performance racing cars, chose 3D Systems’ metal additive manufacturing technology to produce tooling and final parts for its soon-to-be-released “hyper car,” the Rodin FZero. Among hundreds of metal parts for the new model, Rodin Cars is using 3D printing technologies to manufacture a customized, eight-speed sequential gearbox with a hydraulic differential.

“Additive manufacturing is enabling industry leaders to defy limitations and stand apart,” according to Kevin Baughey, 3D Systems’ segment leader, transportation & motorsports. “This is a shining example of how additive manufacturing not only enables parts to be produced that couldn’t be created through conventional methods, it is also delivering a lighter, more durable, beautiful vehicle. It’s the blending of the art of design with the science of hyper-performance cars and motorsports.”