Porsche's 911 GT2 RS will have 3D-printed pistons for its parts. Although the car parts are not ready yet for production, the company's conducted test revealed that they are lighter, run cooler, and more powerful compared to the normally forged pistons. 

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The car company's research found that the 3D-printed pistons are equally matched with the forged parts, and possibly exceed them. The results were provided after the printed aluminum alloy pistons survived that first endurance test of Porsche using the engine of its 911 GT2 RS. CNET reported that the automaker is focusing on 3D-printing, using it for parts development and rapid prototyping since the '90s.

20 steel, plastic, and alloy-printed "Porsche Classic" parts are currently sold for heritage vehicles. Porsche's customers can specify color, shape, and firmness of the 3D-printed backrest and cushion surfaces with the help of full bucket seat orders opened for 718 and 911 motorsports variants, according to the previous report of CNET.

The automaker optimizes the piston's underlying topology and supporting shape using artificial intelligence and computer simulation, beginning with redesigning pistons using 3D-printing.

The process also allows for the removal of unnecessary material and adding the needed ones. Porsche calls the result a "bionic" design, allowing for an organic structural shape utilization. Minimizing support material is also included in the process, which is a part of the 3D printing optimization. The hole for the wrist pin is the only support material that needs removing.

Porsche making the 3D-printed pistons

The automaker claimed that it would be extremely difficult to engineer special twin-jet oil nozzles separately or to integrate a cooling duct into the piston's structure if machining or casting was used. After the design was tested multiple times in simulation and sorted, Porsche started printing the pistons, which required even more specialized hardware than the plastic filament hobbyist printer usually found in a shed.

The engineers used a high-precision Trumpf TruPrint 3000 laser 3D printer to create the pistons--it was also used to build the parts that are 0.02 to 0.1-millimeter layer with the help of fine metal powder with accurate, powerful lasers. Porsche's material is called M174+, a propriety aluminum alloy. Mahle, the automaker's partner, and parts manufacturer developed the material. The 1,200 layers of fused alloy, which each piston is composed of, took roughly 12 hours to manufacture, luckily the car company was able to print them in batches. 

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