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3D Printed Titanium Brakes

Popular Science reports on how Bugatti plans to brake their $3 million Chiron supercar. Aluminum brakes weren’t going to cut it for this 1,500-horsepower behemoth, so Bugatti went with 3D printed titanium brakes.

Indeed, “stopping the $3 million, 1,500-horsepower, 16-cylinder, 4,500-lb. Bugatti Chiron from its mind-boggling 261-mph top speed requires locomotive-scale brakes. But big, heavy calipers hinder crucial performance characteristics like ride and handling, so Bugatti has pioneered development of a laser-sintered, 3-D-printed titanium component, which will slash the weight of the Chiron’s monstrous brake calipers by 40 percent.”

These titanium calipers weigh just 6.4 lbs. each, “compared to 10.8 lbs. for the current aluminum units.” These 3D printed titanium calipers “are the world’s first to be 3D printed and the largest functional titanium 3D printed components.”

Due to “titanium’s extra strength, it is impossible to make titanium calipers using the same milling and forging techniques as employed for the supercar’s aluminum parts. By switching to 3D printing, it is possible to create very complex [and lighter] shapes.”

As Bugatti Automobiles Engineering’s Head of New Technologies in the Technical Development Department Frank Gotzke explains: “in terms of volume, this is the largest functional component produced from titanium by additive manufacturing methods. The first part took only three months. German additive manufacturing specialist Laser Zentrum Nord handled the production with what was the world’s largest titanium 3D printer at the time. It is outfitted with four 400-watt lasers for melting 2,213 layers of the titanium powder over 45 hours.”

Gotzke concludes: “everyone can and should benefit from our projects. This is also part of Bugatti’s role as the Volkswagen Group laboratory for high-tech applications.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Bugatti and Popular Science

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