In preparation for this year's German Touring Car Masters (DTM), auto manufacturer BMW is gearing up by creating water pump wheels that will achieve "ideal aerodynamics." As a car part that spends about 70% of its time under pressure, the one-piece six-bladed pump wheel replaces the plastic component with a laser-fused metal powder that is gradually layered to provide more stability.
On function, cost and manufacturing, BMW notes that "No complex tools or molds are needed, which makes the demand-oriented production more cost-effective."
Now that printing one-of-a-kind parts is becoming more affordable, these components could be integral parts to non-racing cars. Ahead of this, BMW has also relied on additive manufacturing to create protective 3D-printed thumbs for factory employees and prototypes for student-designed and biodegradable concept cars.