Bugatti Concept Car Shows 3D Printed Strength

We doubt you’ll be driving a Bugatti Bolide anytime soon. It’s a bit of a showy concept car, and it really is pushing some limits on what you can 3D print in an automobile. As you can imagine, they aren’t printing car parts out of ABS or PLA. According to The Drive, the prints use selective laser melting with titanium to make some impressively strong and light parts.

It isn’t just the material that makes the 3D prints strong. Bugatti actually patented the internal structure of some parts which are almost bone-like. By having the parts largely hollow, the weight is cut. But fine internal structure creates very strong parts. How strong? A 3.52 ounce pushrod can handle up to 3.85 tons. The printed titanium is apparently heat-treated to increase its resistance to fracture strains.

In addition to titanium, some of the concept car’s parts are printed ceramic which insulates some components from heat. The printing process can apparently get resolutions down to 0.1 mm. Many parts are quite lightweight including a 0.48 mm wheel that with supports weighs in at about 100 grams.

If you want to get into having a project car, we’d suggest something more modest. Even if you want to 3D print a titanium part for your ride, we’d still start a little smaller.

29 thoughts on “Bugatti Concept Car Shows 3D Printed Strength

  1. “a 0.48 mm wheel that with supports weighs in at about 100 grams.” : I built my best wheels out of tungsten after the atomic commission denied me uranium and plutonium, -> check your numbers.

  2. Can anyone find a REAL patent ?
    All I could find were “United States Design Patent” which are odd patents, it would be almost be like a patent for a fashion dress (but clothes are not allowed to be patented):
    e.g. USD904228S1 (Automobile), USD906912S1 (Vehicle spoiler), USD905605S1 (Vehicle rear view mirror), USD903162S1 (Vehicle light), USD902808S1 (Bonnet), USD897901S1 (Automobile), USD894079S1 (Wheel rim), USD905608S1 (Tailpipe), USD899969S1 (Automobile), USD351346S (Toiletry bottle), USD350771S (Fountain pen)

  3. “A 3.52 ounce pushrod can handle up to 3.85 tons.”. I don’t care if it is metric or imperial. But could you please be consistent? At least within a single sentence. I’m not even asking for consistency over the whole article.

        1. The ton comes from “tun” which is a barrel, which when filled with water weighs about a ton.

          It was later “adopted” into the metric system as a convenience unit meaning a thousand kilograms, but in various European countries as well it can actually mean 100, 1,000 or 100,000 of some unit, often involving money.

  4. I’d be scared of sudden failure. In F1 cars they push the limits of using minimal carbon fibre to reduce weight vs too little material which breaks or fails. It’s interesting to watch that limit being pushed but also scarey. I’m thinking the same is happening here. It will work.. until it doesn’t. Not mocking them.. good on them for pushing the boundaries.

    1. It’s a concern for ordinary cars as well. Using ultra high strength steel has allowed the manufacturers to reduce the amount of material in the box sections, but it has a similar effect as standing on an empty soda can – if the forces come from a different direction, the whole thing buckles in and collapses. In other words, the car is designed to survive the standardized crash test, not the actual crash.

      The second concern is that eventually the steel will rust, and with less material it goes through a lot faster.

      The third concern is that the UHSS is practically unweldable by any ordinary garage or home mechanic, because it loses its properties along the heat affected zone and becomes brittle unless you treat it just right. The design already has to mind where the weld beads are to put them outside of the stress zones, so you can’t patch a beam in the middle – putting a bead there would compromise the structure. The chassis cannot be repaired, only replaced.

  5. Any ME nerds in here? It doesn’t seem like 3.85 tons is enough to me… I get it that the car is pretty light at about 1.4 tons, but for how often track cars with similar weights bottom out with 1000lb springs, it seems like you’d want a higher safety margin. But I’m just a sparky that makes electrons go brrrr.

      1. Pushrods sort of made a comeback for V engines, it’s a packaging thing, can make the engine a few inches less tall by having a cam between the blocks, you’re less likely to starve your camshaft of oil and wipe the cam too.

      2. I wonder if Bugatti ever made an engine with a pushrod valve-train. Wikipedia describes his first car in 1922 has having an OHC, even the train that Bugatti made had an engine with an overhead cam.

  6. Bollide is French and italian (?) slang for a very fast sports car. I think is the direction they were going with the name. they are trying to claim ownership with a noun-made-name with “bollide” as in “le bollide,” theyve proprietarized what the french use to refer to many sportscars; ferrari, lamborghini, lotus, pagani, mclaren etc… now you can’t say someone owns a bollide anymore, unless theirs really is a bugatti bollide.

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