One of the challenges when it comes to restoring an old or rare car is finding the parts you need to complete the restoration. This is particularly difficult for the type of restorations that aim to make the car 100% original and need hard to find parts. Porsche Classic is an arm of the sports car maker that produces parts for classic Porsche cars.
The challenge for the company is how to make parts that are extremely rare in small quantities. The answer to that problem for Porsche Classic is a 3D printer. The parts made using the 3D printer are identical to the original parts in technical and visual perspectives.
One example given by Porsche Classic is the release lever for the clutch on the Porsche 959. The challenge here is that the part is made from grey cast iron made to very high-quality requirements. Demand for the part is very low because only 292 of the cars were made.
The only way to produce that part when needed is selective laser melting. The process uses a layer of powdery tool steel less than 0.1mm thick. That material is applied to a processing plate in a computerized process. A high-energy light beam is then used to melt the powered in desired locations to create a steel layer.
The 3D printed part is then made layer by layer. The finished part was pressure tested with a load of nearly three tons and then subjected to a tomographic exam and passed both tests with no issues. Porsche is currently using 3D printing to make eight other parts. The parts are made of steel and alloy using the selective laser melting process. Plastic components are made using a selective laser sintering printer. Porsche is evaluating if the 3D printing process might work for 20 additional components allowing them to be produced on demand.
SOURCE: Porsche Classic