DynamisPRC is the racing department of Politecnico di Milano which runs in the Formula Student championship, an international student competition in which more than 500 universities from all over the world take part. Each team, which must be composed of students from the university they represent, is committed to design, build and race an open-wheeled single-seater. The competition encourages the study of innovative solutions and allows among other things to experiment with innovative or uncommon solutions both in the design and production phases.
Usually, moulds for carbon fiber components are manufactured using processes that are time-consuming and expensive, from the order of material to the finished mould. 3D printing, on the other hand, proves to be an excellent alternative to considerably shorten time and cost, with the necessary optimization of infill and print layer height and using a resistant material such as carbon-filled nylon.
Once the material was chosen, tests were carried out to verify the feasibility of the project. A first lamination test was carried out on a profile of the 2019 prototype that had not been made of carbon: the treatment of the mould requires more effort in scratching the surface of the mould due to the greater porosity of the moulded part. Despite this, since the mold is made of plastic, the separation of the part from the surface is easier and the advantages in terms of timing and production costs are very significant. The first firing test gave good results: the piece came out of the mould with a good surface finish and was not deformed or with dimensions far from the original.
There was, however, a mold restriction that could have been problematic for larger parts than the test we had performed. It was therefore necessary to carry out a second test where changes were made to the printing parameters, such as the increased infill. The result was very satisfactory, greatly reducing the shrinkage of the mold and returning a virtually perfect part as soon as it was demoulded.