3D Printing to Victory: Waterloo Hybrid


Recently, TPH 3D had the pleasure of working with Waterloo Hybrid, a talented team of students from the University of Waterloo competing in the Formula Hybrid design and engineering challenge. Formula Hybrid is an annual competition for undergraduate and graduate students who must collaboratively design and build an open-wheel, single-seat, electric or hybrid race car.

Teams are tasked with creating a car that is both innovative and efficient and are tested through a series of events. This year’s competition took place May 2nd – 5th at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The Waterloo Hybrid team claimed an impressive first place title in the design category!

As points were awarded based on whether or not features were designed from scratch, 3D printing became a valuable asset to the team during the design and manufacturing phases of the vehicle. TPH was able to help 3D print two parts for the car: a steering wheel cover and a knob that was used to adjust break forces.

The steering wheel cover was created to help the flat metal plate being used for the wheel fit more comfortably in the driver’s hands. The wheel cover enclosed the plate and was reinforced with blue tape before the competition to provide better grip. Waterloo Hybrid chose 3D printing to produce this part, due to the design flexibility and high degree of accuracy that could be achieved with the technology.

3D Printing

The second part printed was the brake knob, a piece which would typically require many hours to create with traditional manufacturing processes. However with 3D printing, Waterloo Hybrid was able to produce this part in a much shorter time frame. Accuracy played a huge role in printing the knob, as it required a 0.01mm tolerance. With the help of TPH’s Polyjet printer, Waterloo Hybrid was provided with a part that was fully functional and compatible with their design.

3D Printing

To stand up against the wear and tear of competition, the team had to print with a material that was tough enough to withstand repeated motion. After consulting with Deep at our 3D print location, it was decided that a Rigid Opaque Vero material would be the best choice for the application. Vero is also a lightweight material, adding to the efficiency of the car.

Overall, Waterloo Hybrid was extremely pleased with the end product. 3D printing gave them an edge which helped them clinch the best design title. This was both an exciting and unique project to work on, showcasing the amazing applications of 3D printing!

“We were very impressed with the final products and the exceptional support from the staff. We look forward to working with TPH again.” – Karan Khalsa, Waterloo Hybrid

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