Over the last four years, Eagle has been working with 3D printing service provider Graphite Additive Manufacturing to produce custom 3D printed parts which help reengineer these luxury vehicles to modern-day quality standards. Eagle recently switched its production to Graphite AM's HP Jet Fusion 4200 system for the manufacture of air conditioning and heating air ducts which are said to have already led to an increase in quality, cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
"Since we began to using HP’s 3D printing technology for production, we’ve been impressed by the improvement in how these parts look as well as their durability," said Paul Brace, director at Eagle. "HP’s 3D platform consistently delivers the desired finish which is very important to our process. The heating ducts need to be attractive enough to sit on the dashboard, and these parts match the exceptional quality of our classic cars. Additional benefits we’ve seen include the wider scope for shapes that we can now create using 3D printing, and the weight reduction in materials on offer. This adds value for customers who are keen to keep parts as lightweight as possible.”
Eagle’s Jaguar E-Types typically take around 4,000 hours to restore and the company only creates between four or five of these per year, which means select bespoke parts can often only be needed as a one-off. These low production requirements make 3D printing an ideal candidate as parts can be made more economically without the need for a mould while stored 3D models can be easily tweaked for future jobs.
Prior to switching to Jet Fusion, HP’s flagship powder-based 3D printing process, Graphite AM had been using other 3D printing processes which required materials to be mixed and load into the machine by hand. HP’s technology allows for automated material mixing and loading which is believed to reduced an entire day’s work to a 30 minute job.
“The capabilities of HP’s 3D printing solutions are ideal for the production of custom-made, high-quality car parts provide a host of solutions for the automotive sector, and we’re excited to see how it helps shape the future of car manufacturing in the coming years,” commented George Brasher, UK&I Managing Director at HP. “It’s exciting to see Eagle’s commitment to innovation as they take advantage of the efficient, flexible design and customisation enabled by HP 3D solutions for its market leading bespoke vehicles.”
Earlier this year CUPRA, the sports car subsidiary of Spanish auto company SEAT, began using HP AM to quickly produce new, lightweight parts for its CUPRA Leon Competición racecar, while Volkswagen has been assessing its Metal Jet technology, tested with a series of 10,000+ mini 3D printed 1D.3 vehicles for its launch last year.