The sexy new Lotus Type 62-2 sports car lovingly resurrected by car builder Ant Anstead and former Formula One champion race car driver Jenson Button was only possible through additive manufacturing. As the new streaming series on Discovery+ shows, no other technology could provide the design freedom, flexibility, and cost that FDM and resin 3D printing brought to the project. Stratasys 3D printers at the Radford Studio (Source: Stratasys)
“Radford Returns,” tells the story of the revival of the art of coachbuilding using technology for the 21st century. The show features Anstead and Button and documents the build of the retro-modern Lotus Type 62-2 supercar, and their extensive use of 3D printing.
Viewers get an inside look at the process from designing to prototyping, tooling, and finally producing production parts using Stratasys FDM, PolyJet, and stereolithography 3D printing technologies. In fact, the project took more than 500 3D printed parts.
“Stratasys’ 3D printing technology gave us the design freedom and ability to easily create customized, one-off pieces and parts for these two prototype vehicles,” said host Ant Anstead. “It gave us the ability to fully embrace customized coachbuilding but with updated processes using 21st-century technologies.”ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT
To produce the first two cars, parts were 3D printed at the Radford Studio, automotive design, and engineering firm Aria Group, and at Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Using Stratasys’ GrabCAD Shop workflow software, the Radford team scheduled and tracked their 3D prints across five global locations, using a fleet of up to 20 Stratasys 3D printers at one time. The array of Stratasys printers included the F900, F770, Fortus 450mc, F370, and J55 3D printers, each used to achieve different desired outcomes for each part.
With various 3D printers and technologies, the team was able to produce parts, such as a large solid composite firewall sandwich core, printed in two halves on the Stratasys F900 printer in Ultem 1010 resin. The part was bonded together into a single piece and then wrapped with carbon fiber without the use of a layup tool. The design of the firewall included complex mounting features for interior speakers, a fuel filler mount, and the luggage compartment. Ant Anstead shows a 3D printed part for the Lotus Type 62-2 coachbuilt as shown in the Discovery+ documentary, Radford Returns (Source: Stratasys)
Exterior items from side mirror housings and radiator ducts to body vents were printed in FDM Nylon 12 carbon fiber and ASA materials. Mounting brackets throughout the car were also 3D printed in Nylon 12 carbon fiber not only for strength requirements and design freedom but to meet the aggressive project schedule.
Radford’s integration of 3D printing technology into their shop isn’t new in automaking. “It’s an extreme example of something we see every day in the auto industry,” says Pat Carey, senior vice president of strategic growth for Stratasys. “Everyone making investments in new vehicles wants a deeper level of customization and 3D printing is helping make it possible.”