3D Printing Custom Carbon Fiber Parts with Soluble Cores – Zips Formula SAE Racing


Over the last several years, Computer Aided Technology has been working with the Akron Zips Formula SAE racing team in many different forms. We have gone from printing parts, to printing the tool for carbon fiber layup with a sacrificial core method. This is done with a soluble material wrapped in carbon fiber. After the part has gone through the curing process, the core is dissolved. Previous parts included foot rests, mounts and brackets, and air intakes. This past year we tackled air cooling ducts to help direct air flow over the disk brakes.

They have had a very busy year with U.S. and European competitions, while trying to validate the designs for the molds at the same time. Sometimes things work out in rapid tooling, other times you learn something. This was a good year to learn something. The front ducts were not mountable with the way they were designed and the inlet on the rear ducts was partially blocked by the axle (you can see that in the pictures from the team). For these reasons, the brake coolers were not run on the car this year. The good news is, this latest revision gave them good direction and lot’s of ideas for the next go around.

Stay tuned for more Akron Zips content as we have printed more soluble cores. We have supplied them with the largest sacrificial tool I, personally, have printed and I am looking forward to seeing that at the end of the season as well as a new brake cooling design.

3d printed carbon fiber part with soluble core on formula racing car top down of 3d printed carbon fiber part with soluble core on formula racing car  3d printed carbon fiber part with soluble core on formula racing car with wheel bolted on

To learn more about The University of Akron’s Formula SAE Racing Team including competition results, car details, and where they will be racing next click the link below.

ZIPS Racing

Jeremy Marvin
Additive Manufacturing Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC