3D printing revives hard-to-find Porsche Classic parts
Porsche’s Classic car division is using additive manufacturing to reproduce replacements parts that are no longer in stock.
Porsche Classic, the automaker’s division devoted solely to its older cars, has started to rely on 3D printing to help alleviate problems with parts supplies. Whether it’s plastic or steel, Porsche’s additive manufacturing is capable of reproducing a part to its correct specification, which is generally far less expensive than rebooting old production lines or ordering far more parts than owners will ever need.
To create metal parts, Porsche uses a process called selective laser melting. A layer of powdered steel is placed on a plate, and a light beam melts the powder to a desired shape, and that process is repeated layer by layer until the part is complete.
When it comes to plastic, Porsche uses selective laser sintering, which is not the same as the fused deposition modeling that you see in most desktop-based 3D printers. In this instance, a material is heated just below its melting point and a laser fuses that material together. It’s a more expensive process than most at-home DIY 3D printing solutions, and the heating process makes it trickier for basic consumer use.