Stratasys 3D printing helps make the difference between winning and losing for McLaren in F1

12th September 2022

9000 parts printed by Stratasys NEO 800 drives McLaren Racing on-grid

Wielding the latest technology from the Stratasys NEO 800 3D printer, British Formula One heavyweights McLaren Racing are printing up to 9000 parts per year to compete at the pinnacle of the sport.

It is not just the ease of 3D printing in reducing high maintenance manufacturing processes that has driven 3D printing to the forefront of motorsports, but also the stellar performance of the parts created by cutting-edge innovations in stereolithography. At the centre of it lies the exciting NEO range.

McLaren Racing’s Head of AM Tim Chapman said:

stratasys neo800 side
The Stratasys NEO 800 builds high-quality parts with supreme surface quality, accuracy and detail.

“Our Neo series of 3D printers have helped us to dramatically reduce the lead times of our aerodynamic wind tunnel components and projects. I cannot overstate how important these benefits are in Formula 1, where the smallest design iteration can make all the difference between winning, losing or making up positions on the grid.”

It is not just the high performance and accuracy of the parts created by Stratasys Neo Stereolithography (SLA) printers that is compelling aerospace and automotive industries to take note, but also the process offering time-saving, cost-cutting benefits. 

The technology dispenses with high-material turnover and high maintenance manufacturing, and combining that with the ease of rapid prototyping that has driven 3D printing to the forefront of motorsports today. Chapman added:

“In addition to speed, we can now produce wind tunnel parts with supreme accuracy, detail and surface finish, which has enabled our team to enhance testing and find innovative new ideas to improve performance.”

As well as using the Stratasys 3D printers to create rapid prototypes ideal for R&D programmes, the team have found the technology advanced enough to be suitable for end-use application. Chapman continued:

“Stereolithography technology and materials have evolved – changing the way we use it. We do not just manufacture prototypes anymore.”

“We find the high-definition components from our Neo machines require minimal hand finishing, which allows much faster throughput to the wind tunnel,” adds Chapman.

The partnership between McLaren and Stratasys emerged back in 2017, and since then the technology has gone from strength to strength, with the 3D printers replacing and supplementing traditional manufacturing processes, and allowing the team to make huge strides in their testing process, including a reduction in production time.

McLaren racing cars in action in F1

What is stereolithography in 3D printing?

SLA is used in the industrial 3D printing process for the design, prototyping and creation of complex components with high-specifications, including geometrics, materials and high-resolutions. For more information on the technology, visit our Neo® Stereolithography 3D Printer page, or book in for a FREE demo to see the full power of SLA technology.

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