The Bloodhound SSC project is aimed at building a supersonic car that will travel at incredible speeds, with the ultimate goal of breaking the 1000mph land speed record.
The team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car has turned to 3D printing technologies to attain its goal. More specifically, one of the most important parts of the vehicle, the nose tip, will be custom manufactured of titanium.
Bloodhound SSC’s tip is a critical part of the project, as it will be the first part to break through the new speed record and will have to withstand pressures up to 12 tons per square meter. This is why the team decided to manufacture it from titanium, with the help of leading additive manufacturers Renishaw.
The nose tip will be made in one of Renishaw’s laser melting machines that are traditionally used for 3D printing complex components and prototypes. The process that Renishaw will use to create the titanium tip is called laser sintering – using a high-power laser beam to fuse thin layers of metallic powders together.
According to Bloodhound SSC engineers, the process will allow the creation of a hollow yet rigid titanium structure, but will also make it possible to minimize the tip’s weight by easily adjusting wall thickness. The 3D printed tip will be bonded to the car’s carbon fiber monocoque body.
The pencil-shaped vehicle will also be equipped with a jet engine and a rocket, along with an auxiliary Formula 1 V8 petrol engine. The vehicle is being assembled in Bristol, at the recently opened Bloodhound Technical Centre.
The Bloodhound SSC team is planning to go for the 1000mph land speed record in the summer of 2015. The current record is 760 mph and was set in 1997 by Andy Green and Richard Noble with the ThrustSSC, the first supersonic record. Noble is currently director of the Bloodhound project.
What do you think of the Bloodhound SSC project and the UK team’s use of 3D printing technologies? Share your thoughts in the comments below!