February 13 2018

Porsche to produce rare parts using 3D printing

Owning a rare Porsche is a privilege and a pleasure, but when one is so rare that only a few were ever made, it makes seeking out parts particularly difficult.

Despair no more, the German manufacturer has come up with a novel solution…

Porsche’s unusual answer for the shortage of parts needed to restore classic marques, including classic porsches, is in the form of a 3D printer.

An economic alternative

Porsche Classic – the manufacturer’s classic vehicle division – currently stocks around 52,000 parts. However, the rarer the motor, the less likely it is that spare components will be available.

The brand says making new parts for classics is simply “economically unviable”.

Not to be defeated, the firm has now developed a process that produces replica parts using the original specifications without the need for expensive investment into remanufacturing.

Using a form of 3D printing that uses lasers and thin layers of metal powder – known as laser melting – parts can be created at a fraction of the cost.

Game changer

The solution could be a game changer for the classic car industry, with parts being produced on demand, or in small quantities.

Giving an example, Porsche says its release lever for the clutch on the 959 is no longer available. Made from grey cast iron, the component has to be made to a very high quality specification. Yet with just 292 of the roadsters ever produced, the part is in very low demand.

The car company is also producing plastic components using selective laser sintering (SLS), a similar laser process fusing plastic powder at selected points.

In a press release, Porsche explains its approach: “Due to the consistently positive results received to date, Porsche is currently manufacturing eight other parts using 3D printing.

“The parts in question are steel and alloy parts produced using the selective laser melting process, and plastic components manufactured using an SLS printer.”

 A further 20 components could also be produced using 3D printing, according to Porsche Classic. As well as reducing mass-manufacturing costs, the components can be produced on demand if needed, thereby eliminating storage costs.