Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Bugatti Develops World's First 3D Printed Titanium Brake Caliper

Bugatti Develops World's First 3D Printed Titanium Brake Caliper

"Vehicle development is a never-ending process".

The benefits are clear: while the aluminum calipers already in place on the Chiron weigh 10.8 pounds, the 3D-printed titanium version weighs just 6.4 lbs.

Developed in concert with the Laser Zentrum Nord in Hamburg, Germany, the 3D-printed caliper is created out of titanium using a printer equipped with four 400-watt laser melting units. They are forged from a block of high-strength aluminum alloy.

The Development Department of Bugatti, for the first time, has developed a brake caliper that can be produced by 3-D printing. The basic concept was sent to Laser Zentrum Nord as a complete data package.

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In a further development, Bugatti has now redesigned the brake calipers to be 3D printed out of titanium. Bugatti was responsible for finishing. The total number of layers required is 2,213.

Finished brake caliper before assembly. What remains in the chamber is a brake caliper complete with supporting structure which maintains its shape until it has received stabilizing heat treatment and reached its final strength. Once the supporting structures are removed, the surface is then smoothed in a combined mechanical, physical and chemical process which drastically improves its long-term strength. Bugatti says each caliper takes around 45 hours to print, and the production process also involves 11 hours of finishing work on a five-axis milling machine, plus a heat-treatment session that involves heating the caliper to almost 1,300° Fahrenheit. If all goes to plan the results can reasonably be expected to filter down to other VW products in the coming years, meaning it may not be too long before 3-D printed components make a lack of available parts a thing of the past. The new architecture combines minimum weight with maximum stiffness.

Gotzke added, "In terms of volume, this is the largest functional component produced from titanium by additive manufacturing methods. Technically, this is an extremely impressive brake caliper, and it also looks great". Bugatti said the caliper is the first of several potential new parts it can now produce thanks to the introduction of this high-tech 3D printing system. Bugatti's latest technical innovation should drastically reduce production times, especially for machining.

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