The German automaker Porsche, parts manufacturer Mahle, and industrial machine manufacturer Trumpf have 3D-printed pistons for the famous 911 GT2 RS that are reportedly lighter and stiffer. Not only that, but they also have an integrated and closed cooling duct in the piston crown that increases power and efficiency like no other.
While these 3D-printed ones won't make it to production for some time, as the piston crown feature is currently unable to be reproduced using traditional manufacturing methods, it should be noted that they provide mechanical benefits by weighing 10 percent less than the forged ones.
These features, such as the decrease in weight and temperature, could result in an extra 30 horsepower in addition to the GT2 RS's 700.
High-purity metal powder is used to print pistons
The pistons are produced with high-purity metal powder and developed using a laser metal fusion process, which means that it is made by a laser beam that heats and melts metal powder until the desired shape is achieved.
Once the shape is obtained, the product is validated by using measurement technology from Zeiss, a German optics company that is famous for its camera lenses.
3D-printed pistons went through a 200-hour endurance drive simulation
The pistons were analyzed for defects and placed on an engine test bench.
Also, they completed a 200-hour endurance drive simulation without any problems.
Increasing engine speed while lowering the temperature load on the pistons
Porsche senior engineer Frank Ickinger stated, "Thanks to the new, lighter pistons, we can increase the engine speed, lower the temperature load on the pistons and optimize combustion."
"This makes it possible to get up to 30 HP more power from the 700 HP bi-turbo engine, while at the same time improving efficiency."
It will be some time before regular vehicles get a taste
The technique is as expensive as it is impressive, and it reportedly takes a while to print parts using this technique. According to Ickinger, moving onto regular vehicles might take 10 years or so.