Bugatti is known for its resume of record-breaking hypercars like the Veyron and Chiron. But it seems that the French marque is updating their expertise with something that’s never been done before in the industry - 3D-printing brake calipers.
No, it’s not your ordinary 3D printer that uses plastic goo. This creates an 8-piston monobloc brake caliper made from titanium alloy because super-fast cars need super powerful brakes. In addition, it is the world's largest 3D-printed functional component produced from titanium.
The said titanium alloy used in printing the caliper is the same material utilized in making aircraft components, which makes sense because you’re trying to stop something travelling around 300 kph.
“In our continuing development efforts, we are always considering how new materials and processes can be used to make our current model even better and how future vehicles of our brand could be designed.”
This particular titanium compound has a tensile strength of 1,250 newton per square millimeter which, in layman's term, translates to very high tensile strength. It measures 4,100-mm long, 2,100-mm wide, weighs 2.9 kg, and can be found installed in the Chiron.
The method was believed to be revolutionary as the normal process of milling titanium to aluminum is almost impossible due to the high strength of the metal. The innovation of 3D printer using titanium opens a wide array of complex structure applications.
The company responsible for fulfilling Bugatti's vision is Laser Zentrum Nord using the largest printer in the world for titanium. This is no ordinary 3D printer as it is equipped with four 400-watt lasers, which is probably not as powerful as the lightsaber from Star Wars but reliable enough to cut through titanium and other metals. All in all, it takes about 56 hours to complete one brake caliper (45 for printing, 11 for contouring).