Porsche is following the lead of SpaceX and using 3D printing to help improve the performance of its cars. The German car manufacturer is helping to evolve the car industry by using 3D-printed pistons in its 911 GT2 RS.
Experimenting with Technology
Porsche decided to try out 3D printing pistons for its 911 GT2 RS. Even though pistons are a part of the engine that needs to be hard-wearing, Porsche thought it was a good idea to use a 3D-printed version. It might have seemed like a risk at first, but after hundreds of miles of stress testing at high speeds, these pistons held their own. In fact, not only did Porsche’s 3D-printed pistons survive, they showed signs of improvement over standard pistons.
The 3D Printing Process
While many 3D-printed parts are made from plastic, Porsche uses an aluminum alloy polymer to create its pistons. This polymer is then put through a laser metal fusion process which brings the pistons to life, one layer at a time. Printing pistons in this way removes the need for molds, meaning they can be designed and created in hours.
Good News for Owners of Classic Porsches
Although Porsche is using 3D printing to bring car production into the future, it will also be using it for its cars of years gone by. Parts for Porsche’s classic models are often out of production, meaning they have been next to impossible to acquire.
Without the need for the original molds, Porsche can now 3D print spare parts for its classic models. This means owners of vintage Porsches can actually get their old cars back up and running again, thanks to 3D printing.
Although 3D printing was first used in the 1980s, it has really only become popular in the past decade. The possibilities for parts are endless thanks to 3D printing, and Porsche is looking to continue evolving its design using this technology.
While the station wagon was once the king of the road, they are an endangered species on our highways now. These are some of the station wagons that time seemingly forgot.
Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
Perhaps looking more like a hearse than a family car is why the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser is such a rare sight today. It wasn’t hugely popular when it was first released in 1991, with only 8,000 models made, and a further 4,000 went into production in 1992. If you wanted to spot one in the wild today, you would have to find an enthusiast who has lovingly kept it in mint condition since the ’90s.
The Mercury Tracer was almost a carbon copy of the Ford Escort, but because it wasn’t sold as a Ford, it was pretty short-lived. The Tracer did enjoy three generations from 1997 to 1999 before the market for station wagons seemingly disappeared. Mercury’s long vehicle was one of the final models to make it to market while station wagons were still relatively popular, but it wasn’t enough to save the car type.
Although it was known around the world as the Passat or the Santana, in the United States, Volkswagen marketed this station wagon as the Quantum. The car had plenty of room on the inside, and it was one of the largest cars on the road at the time. Perhaps due to how expensive it was, the Quantum is rarely spotted any longer.
The Volvo 240 is arguably the atypical station wagon, and it remained a staple of the roads from 1983 until 1993. The ever-reliable Volvo was cherished by many drivers, and it was arguably the station wagon that all other car manufacturers wished they had invented.
Station wagons were once everywhere you looked, but that bubble has burst, and these are the models that time seemed to forget.