The supplier of Formula 1 has unveiled a composite car chassis worth $38,000.

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Dash-CAE, a UK-based firm specializing in the engineering, design, and manufacturing of race car components, has recently introduced a groundbreaking product called the TR01. Unlike their custom-designed or short-run items, the TR01 is a standard carbon fiber monocoque chassis specifically designed for performance road vehicles.

What sets this product apart is that it is being offered as a standardized product, something rarely seen in the vehicle production industry. With a price tag of $38,000, Dash-CAE has taken a bold step by making an entire carbon fiber chassis available to the market.

Dash-CAE has a strong track record, having crafted Le Mans LMP cars, prototypes, and carbon fiber bodies for Moto GP in the past. They have also extensively incorporated 3D printing into their manufacturing process, utilizing Stratasys F900 PRO, F250mc, and F400 machines for creating parts, particularly for tooling purposes.

While it is unclear to what extent 3D printing has been used in the construction of the TR01 chassis, considering Dash-CAE’s experience in 3D printing for tooling and their expertise in creating carbon monocoque chassis for motorsport, it is likely that some 3D printing has been employed in this project.

A carbon fiber monocoque chassis is a fully load-bearing body made from carbon fiber or carbon fiber reinforced plastic, which forms a strong “tub” for the driver. These tubs, often consisting of composite material layers with a honeycomb center, have been crucial in saving lives in the motorsport industry.

The material used in monocoques is typically woven from aramid or other fibers and then encased in a thermoset substance. This process, known as autoclaving, enhances structural integrity, eliminates voids, and improves performance. The resulting part is both strong and lightweight, but the production process is labor-intensive, environmentally taxing, and challenging to recycle.

Aside from providing driver protection, monocoques help reduce weight, leading to significant improvements in speed, handling, and fuel efficiency. The shift in design perspective focuses on creating a compact escape pod for the driver rather than engineering the entire car body to absorb impacts. This approach reduces weight and material, allowing engineers to prioritize speed and cornering ability.

According to Dash-CAE CEO Tim Robathan, “The TR01 chassis opens new possibilities for niche automotive manufacturers and larger international OEMs by offering an affordable, versatile, lightweight, and high-stiffness carbon monocoque chassis. Our commitment to innovation and engineering excellence makes the TR01 an industry-disrupting solution that challenges traditional carbon chassis production and makes high-performance monocoques far more accessible.”

Entering the car market can be daunting due to the staggering costs involved. However, the TR01 is part of a larger trend aiming to democratize vehicle manufacturing. It serves as a potential head start for a new electric vehicle at an auto manufacturer, a way to expedite the creation of concept cars, an opportunity to make unique sports cars more affordable, or a means for university teams to innovate lightweight vehicles on tight budgets. The TR01 could also revolutionize racing classes or inspire more companies to develop cutting-edge new vehicles.

Furthermore, with F1 budget caps affecting many suppliers and supply chains, the release of the TR01 aligns well with the current state of motorsport. Access to motorsport engineering can help low volume car manufacturers get started and may signal a return to a coach building era, where manufacturers focus on drivetrains while relying on specialized firms for other components.

The TR01 represents a significant advancement in the production of carbon fiber monocoque chassis and has the potential to reshape the automotive industry by making high-performance monocoques more accessible to a wider range of manufacturers and enthusiasts.

Revolutionizing the Automotive Industry with 3D Printed Chassis

In the world of automotive manufacturing, innovation is key to success. Throughout history, builders have constantly pushed the boundaries of what is possible, adding custom bodywork to engines and chassis components. This drive for improvement has not skipped the electric bike industry, where virtually anything can now be outsourced.

However, while technological developments have improved the performance and speed of modern supercars, they have also brought about some drawbacks. In the event of a crash, these cars can burn and crumble like Roman candles, leaving them completely totaled. Even though the passengers may walk away unharmed, the car becomes a fiery wreckage. One of the contributing factors to this is the material composition, with carbon monocoque cars containing a significant amount of flammable plastic. These cars are designed for speed rather than reliability, which significantly increases the risks involved.

But does this mean that the carbon monocoque chassis itself is dangerous? Far from it. In fact, it is an incredibly safe design. The issue lies in the usage and handling of these cars, which exposes them to higher risks compared to typical vehicles.

For niche car manufacturers, a chassis like the TR01 could be an invaluable asset. Designed for both electric and combustion cars, this adaptable chassis offers a great deal of flexibility for different configurations. Moreover, its affordability makes it an attractive option. By utilizing such a chassis, carmakers can accelerate the development process and shift their focus towards perfecting the drivetrain or engine.

Looking towards the future, it is not far-fetched to imagine a 3D printed chassis becoming a reality. The growth of the large-format additive manufacturing market and the significant investments being made in companies like Divergent indicate that a 3D printed chassis is not too far off. Such a development would revolutionize the automotive world and greatly speed up the adoption of 3D printing technology in the industry.

By partnering with small and fast-paced companies that specialize in 3D printed components, the automotive market can embrace disruption in a positive way. These collaborations will fuel innovation and push the boundaries of what is possible.

So, whether it’s the latest advancements in 3D printing or the revolutionary TR01 chassis, staying up-to-date with the latest news from the automotive industry is essential. It is an exciting time as we witness the transformation of traditional manufacturing processes and the emergence of groundbreaking technologies. Embrace the change and be part of this phenomenal journey. Subscribe now to receive the latest updates and offers from third-party vendors in the 3D printing industry.

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