Porsche Adds 3D-Printed Parts for Classic Cars

February 13, 2018 at 3:19 PM

Porsche AG has begun making 3D-printed replacement parts for some of its classic models.

The carmaker initially is offering nine 3D parts and is considering adding 20 more. Among the first available is the clutch release lever for the 1980s-era 959 supercar, which had a production run of just 292 units.

Porsche will make the parts via a selective laser sintering melting technology, in which a high-energy laser beam melts a thin layer of powder in the desired locations to create individual layers that are built up one at a time. The release lever, for example, starts as a layer of powdery steel less than 0.1 mm thick.

In addition to steel and other alloys, some of the parts are made from plastic using a selective laser sintering. In this process, the material is heated to just below the melting point and the remaining energy is applied through a laser to fuse the plastic powder at a selected point.

Porsche says the 3D replacement parts will meet the same requirements as the original components. This includes pressure testing and resistance to oils, fuel, acid and light.

Last November Porsche invested in Watertown, Mass.-based Markforged Inc. and another unidentified 3D-printing company. It isn’t clear if Porsche will produce the classic parts in-house or through one of these providers.