Enhanced McLaren 720S blends carbon fiber body with titanium 3D printing

Automotive tuning specialist 1016 Industries has integrated 3D printed performance parts into a one-off ultra-lightweight edition of the McLaren 720S sports car. 

In what’s believed to be a world’s first combination, the firm’s fully-exposed carbon fiber ‘000’ features functional weight-saving additive manufactured parts, making it 9% lighter than standard. 1016 Industries first commissioned the proof-of-concept as a “showcase of the future of elite manufacturing” for its CEO Peter Northrop, but it now aims to begin 3D printing components for other exotic cars by late 2021. 

“The new 000 prototype is the product of years of extensive field testing and design validation,” explained Northrop. “It’s no secret that 3D printing presents a dynamic case for more nimble manufacturing, but the technology has also allowed our engineers to realize drastic improvements to the quality and precision of each functional part.”

1016 Industries' tuned McLaren 720S 000.
1016 Industries’ tuned McLaren 720S 000 (pictured) is nearly 9% lighter than the factory model. Image via 1016 Industries.

Tuning the McLaren 720S

After years of reworking and remodelling 3D printed components for its $550,000 prototype, 1016 Industries has finally identified a fully-operational and scalable design. As well as rebuilding the one-off vehicle’s exterior to be composed entirely of exposed carbon fiber, the company has incorporated additive manufactured elements into its inner bumpers. 

When it comes to the ‘000’s’ performance-critical 3D printed parts, these are mostly concentrated within its rear wing, which includes functional titanium supports in addition to various linkages. 1016 Industries’ combined exterior and assembly changes provide its prototype with significant weight-saving benefits, as the custom 720S is a whopping 122 kg (268 lbs) lighter than the factory model. 

Given that the stock supercar weighs around 1,419 kilograms (3,128 pounds), the company has effectively managed to use 3D printing and carbon fiber tinkering to make its special edition nearly 9% lighter. According to Northrop, the project’s success could serve as a basis for future advances within automotive design. 

“Our primary goal with the 000 720S was to explore how 1016 Industries could employ the latest 3D printing and carbon fiber processes in auto design,” explained Northrop. “The 000 custom represents an industry first, and while we are incredibly proud of what we achieved here, this is just the beginning.”

The rear wing of 1016 Industries' custom McLaren 720S 000 sports car.
The rear wing of 1016 Industries’ custom McLaren 720S features lightweight 3D printed titanium supports. Image via 1016 Industries.

A scalable 3D printed design  

As a specialist in exotic car development, 1016 Industries has adopted AM within previous car revamp projects, but the 000 represents the firm’s best case study on the technology to date. During the vehicle’s R&D, the company was able to fully adapt 3D printing into scaled manufacturing processes, and produce parts that effectively support the modified vehicle’s new lightweight carbon fiber exterior. 

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) proved to be central to optimizing the one-off supercar’s design, and the comprehensive analytical approach was used to develop prototypes as well as final parts. Viewing the success of its special edition supercar as a validation of this strict design criteria, 1016 Industries now plans to provide 3D printed tooling molds for the 720S, as well as other exotic cars in future. 

“Incorporating 3D printing into 1016 Industries’ production processes has been a steep learning curve because this isn’t something that can be easily applied to the automotive space,” concluded Northrop. “The finished 1016 Industries 000 720S is the result of thousands of hours of engineering, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.”

Automotive tuning advances

Alongside tuning firms like 1016 Industries, automotive manufacturers often use 3D printing themselves to produce low volumes of parts that yield significant performance gains. Luxury car manufacturer Bugatti, for instance, has integrated upgraded 3D printed titanium components into its new concept Bolide hypercar. 

Bugatti’s bone-inspired components feature ultra-thin walls, hollow interiors, and fine branching, making them lightweight yet durable upgrades. On a similar note, product design firm CALLUM recently deployed a MakerBot 3D printer to create custom parts for a limited edition Aston Martin supercar. The revamped vehicle is fitted with additive manufactured brake ducts and specialized gauges. 

Elsewhere, German sports car manufacturer Porsche, has worked with TRUMPF and MAHLE to 3D print enhanced pistons for the engine of its flagship 911 supercar. By integrating a cooling duct into the component’s ‘crown,’ Porsche has been able to reduce its weight by 10% and add 30 BHP to the engine’s horsepower.

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Featured image shows 1016 Industries’ tuned McLaren 720S 000. Image via 1016 Industries.