Bugatti Can Now 3D-Print This Gorgeous Brake Caliper From Titanium

by Heather Platt | Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Bugatti is the crown jewel of the Volkswagen Group. But the maker of the $3 million Chiron also serves as one of the group’s technical development laboratory, alongside Porsche’s powertrain and Lamborghini’s composite departments, pushing new technologies towards production. Bugatti’s latest development is the world’s first 3D-printed titanium brake caliper, created by a quartet of 400-watt lasers.

Bugatti

As you’d expect, the Chiron already comes with the most powerful brakes ever bolted to a production car, featuring the world’s largest calipers with eight titanium pistons at the front and six at the rear. But while these forged aluminum alloy calipers weigh almost 11 lbs., the new 3D-printed prototypes are 40 percent lighter, as well as considerably stronger, thanks to being made of Ti₆Al₄V titanium alloy.

This new unit is is 41 cm long, 21 cm wide and 13.6 cm high, weighing just 6.4 lbs. More importantly, it has a tensile strength of 1,250 N/mm2, meaning that a force of slightly more than 275 lbs. can be applied to a square millimeter of this titanium alloy without the material rupturing.

Designed with the help of Laser Zentrum Nord of Hamburg in just three month, Bugatti’s caliper takes a total of 45 hours to print, during which 2213 layers of titanium powder get melted together by the lasers. Following the completion of the final layer, the remaining titanium powder is removed from the chamber, cleaned and preserved for reuse in a closed loop. 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. What heat treatment? I’m glad you asked!

That’s crazy, but Bugatti isn’t done yet. As the team proudly points out, while they’re working on shortening the titanium calipers’ production time, they’ve also come up with the longest aluminum component ever made by 3D printing: a 24.8-inch-long lightweight aluminum windshield wiper arm, weighing just 0.88 lbs.

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