The restoration of vintage cars is frequently a question of passion. Many companies specialize in the field, but it is not always as easy as you might think. For example, the availability of parts is always a highly complicated matter: most components of old cars are no longer produced or marketed. If they are, it’s frequently on the other side of the planet. However, additive manufacturing can mitigate this problem by manufacturing the required part on-demand from a simple 3D scan: no unused stocks, lower transport costs, and the car can be repaired much more quickly. The UK company Eagle has therefore adopted 3D technologies to restore E-Type Jaguars.
Developed in the 60s and 70s, the E-Type Jaguar is a sports car that is hard to find nowadays. In order to preserve the model, Eagle has been specializing in its restoration and conservation since 1984. Its notable objective is to bring this vintage car up to today’s higher quality levels – work that takes around 4,000 hours per car. Over the past 4 years, the company has been working hand in hand with Graphite Additive Manufacturing, a service provider that has invested in HP Multi Jet Fusion technologies. Thanks to additive manufacturing, Eagle is able to produce low-volume components on demand and more quickly. Only producing 4 or 5 cars each year, the British company works in small runs that do not justify large stocks.
Since starting to use HP’s 3D printing technology for production, we have been impressed with the improved finish and durability of the parts. HP’s 3D platform enables us to systematically obtain the desired finish, which is very important in our process. Heating ducts must be sufficiently attractive for placing on the dashboard. These parts are representative of the exceptional quality of our classic cars.”
Eagle also states that additive manufacturing makes it possible to imagine other shapes and forms, creating more complex structures with enhanced esthetics. It has also been able to reduce the weight of the finished part thanks to the lighter materials, which also offer improved resistance. The company doesn’t specify which powder it uses to produce its air ducts, but it may well be that a composite is a favored choice.
George Brasher, general manager for UK&I at HP, concludes: “The solution capacity of HP’s 3D printing solutions is ideal for producing high-quality customized car parts. They offer a whole array of solutions for the automotive sector and we are excited to learn how they will contribute to shaping the future of vehicle construction over the coming years.” An inspiring application example for all vintage car aficionados!