Throughout the evolution of high performance racing, a large emphasis has been on reducing the weight of the vehicle in order to improve its performance. Over the years, new designs and materials have been introduced reducing weight in a variety of different locations. Comparing weight reduced in different areas has shown that some areas are more valuable to reduce than others are. Perhaps one of the most beneficial locations are the wheels. This is because the mass of the wheel is considered unsprung and rotational. Because of this, large improvements towards the reduction of wheel mass have been developed in regards to design and material selection. Currently, the highest performance wheels are manufactured using carbon fiber reinforced in plastic.
Recently, manufacturing of a composite wheel has become more and more popular and is produced on a production car level all the way down to lower budgeted teams. Typically, to manufacture a composite wheel, expensive molds are machined out of large pieces of aluminum, and special tooling is required. This creates a poor environment for prototyping. If a flaw is found in the design, it can cost the manufacturer a considerable amount of time and money. For these reasons, a manufacturing method using inexpensive 3D printed molds was explored. This thesis will cover the development of the manufacturing process using 3D printed molds.
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Science, Engineering and Technology
Thuening, Steven, "Manufacturing a Composite Wheel Prototype Using 3D Printed Molds" (2018). All Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Other Capstone Projects. 777.
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