October 29th, 2020 by

Thanks to advanced manufacturing techniques, a day is coming where you might not buy a plastic or metal part for your Chevrolet, but have it printed. Fast, cost-effective and incredibly accurate, plastic and metal 3D-printed automotive parts were the stuff of science fiction only a few years ago, but they’re coming soon to a Chevrolet near you.

Racing — one of the most torturous environments there is to test new parts and materials — often leads the way to new innovations for Chevrolet, and that includes the field of 3D printing. This racing season, Chevrolet has went all-in on 3D printed racing parts, with Chevrolet Race Teams, including INDYCAR, NASCAR, the Corvette factory racing team and the Silverado off-road racing teams accumulating more than 80,000 miles of racing in vehicles built extensively with 3D-printed parts.

At the recent Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race, for example, Team Chevrolet’s two mid-engine Corvette C8.R race cars were equipped with over 75 3D-printed parts each, including the oil tank, tank inlet and cap, air conditioning driver cooling box and integrated hydration system, power steering pump bracket and headlight assemblies. Fifty of these parts were designed and printed at General Motors, while the rest were delivered by trusted GM suppliers. .

“Chevrolet has a long history of technology transfer between our motorsports and production teams, and this is a perfect example of our approach,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “GM’s 3D-printing capability speeds up our learning cycles and, in turn, these racetrack experiences help our additive manufacturing team move one step closer to using 3D-printed parts in production vehicles.”

Chevrolet’s punishing INDYCAR program, which sees some of the highest speeds and RPMs of any Chevrolet racing effort, also heavily benefits from 3D-printed parts in both plastics and cutting-edge metal printing, helping test parts, produce spares that can be quickly swapped in at the track and prototype new designs to squeeze every drop of reliability and power from every part. A significant percentage of the metal exhaust system of the powerful V6 engines Chevrolet runs in INDYCAR are 3D printed, with the engines powering Chevy INDYCAR racers over 60,000 miles since the season started in June 2020.

When it comes to pure, bone-shaking torture testing, though, nothing comes close to desert racing, and 3D printed parts are showing their promise and durability there too. The all-new Silverado Off-Road Race Truck debuted at the Best in the Desert Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic in October 2019, and has since racked up over 900 dusty, teeth-jarring miles of desert racing while employing 3D-printed parts, including a rear damper shield made with carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, which armors the rear shock absorbers from rocks, dust and debris.

“By utilizing 3D-printed parts, Chevrolet Motorsports is demonstrating the many benefits of additive manufacturing, including manufacturing efficiencies, mass reduction, parts consolidation, creativity and cost savings,” said Audley Brown, GM director, Materials Engineering, Additive Design and Manufacturing. “3D-printed parts can offer equal strength and durability to cast or milled components, which is critical for product development and design.”

3D-printed parts are also helping Chevrolet racing shine in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series, where the Camaro ZL1 1LE race car was developed with the help of over 500 3D-Printed prototype parts, including a 3D-printed gear cooling duct which has survived over 18,500 racing miles in 27 NASCAR races.

The future is truly now at Chevy, and we’re glad to sell the cars, trucks and SUVs of a company that is always at the forefront of helping move manufacturing, fuel efficiency, and vehicle safety in the right direction. Who knows what they’ll think of next? Ready to drive the trucks, cars and SUVs of tomorrow that you can drive today? Then come see us for a test drive at Landers Chevrolet Cadillac of Joplin, or check out our full selection of incredible 2020 and 2021 Chevy vehicles at our website right now. We look forward to amazing you with Chevrolet innovation, at Landers Chevrolet Cadillac of Joplin.

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