3D Printed Porsche Classic Parts
Porsche Classic has turned to the process of 3D printing to produce parts that are out of production. Those components for classic Porsche models that are needed only in small quantities can be made to the same technical standards using the technology. The Porsche Classic range currently includes more than 52,000 parts, typically if a certain part is no longer in stock, or stock is low, it is reproduced using Porsche’s original tooling. For larger quantities, production sometimes requires the creation of new tools. Producing small batches in this fashion is far too inefficient and costly, now 3D printing offers a viable alternative.
Due to the consistently positive results found during testing, Porsche is currently manufacturing nine parts using the 3D printing process, amongst the items are a fuel cap gasket for the 959 and a crank arm for the 964. The parts in question are steel and alloy produced using a selective laser melting process, plastic components are manufactured using a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printer. Here the material is heated to just below melting point and the remaining energy is applied through a laser to fuse the plastic powder at a selected point.
Naturally, all of these parts are subject to the quality requirements of the original, however, Porsche has found them to often meet higher standards. Accuracy in terms of size and fit is ensured via the test fitting of parts. Porsche Classic is currently assessing whether 3D printing is suitable for the production of a further 20 components. A three-dimensional design scan of any component is a sufficient basis to commence production, and components can be produced on demand, thereby eliminating tool and storage costs. For Porsche Classic, 3D printing makes an awful lot of sense.