Skip to main content

Watch as Bugatti torture-tests a 3D-printed titanium brake caliper

Testing the world's first 3D printed brake caliper

Bugatti doesn’t do anything normally.

From the way it builds cars to the way it handles recalls, the French automaker does everything in a grandiose and elaborate way. So, it doesn’t surprise us that Bugatti has reinvented the manufacturing process for a crucial part most drivers ignore until they really need it.

Though it might look like an ordinary brake caliper, Bugatti claims this supersized chunk of metal is the world’s first caliper produced using a 3D printer. It’s also made from titanium (the same stuff used in the SR-71 Blackbird jet), and Bugatti proudly points out it is the largest 3D-printed component ever made from that material. It works just like a normal caliper, it’s bolted to the wheel hub and it pushes pads against a spinning rotor to slow down the car, but the prototype titanium caliper is stronger and about 40 percent lighter than the aluminum part fitted to the 1,500-horsepower Chiron.

Titanium is notoriously difficult to work with, which is why Bugatti turned to 3D printing. The traditional milling process used to turn a solid block of metal into a functional part simply wouldn’t work with titanium, according to the company. 3D-printing makes titanium calipers possible, but the process is not exactly straightforward, either.

Bugatti 3D-printed brake caliper
Image used with permission by copyright holder

To make the brake caliper, Bugatti turned to Laser Zentrum Nord, which had a 3D printer designed specifically to work with titanium. The printer was equipped with four 400-watt lasers. It took 45 hours to print the caliper by painstakingly depositing 2,213 individual layers of titanium on top of each other. After that, the part was heat-treated to ensure strength, and technicians trimmed away excess material to create the final product. In December 2018, the company released a video showing the fiery bench tests its researchers put the caliper through. It can withstand rotor temperatures of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit without warping or melting.

Bugatti plans to test the 3D-printed caliper in real-world conditions in 2019, though it admits the timetable hasn’t been finalized yet. It also plans to shorten the production process. It may take Bugatti months to build a car, but even this most leisurely of automakers can’t wait forever for parts from suppliers.

While titanium brake calipers for multi-million dollar supercars aren’t very relevant to the average person, Bugatti claims its experiments with 3D printing could lead to 3D-printed parts for more mainstream Volkswagen Group models in the not-too-distant future. The technology packed into a Chiron in 2019 could trickle down to an Audi TT in 2025.

Updated on December 24, 2018: Added information about the testing phase.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
AMD’s 3D-stacked Ryzen 7 5800X3D is ‘world’s fastest gaming processor’
AMD CEO presenting new CPU.

The first processor to use a 3D V-Cache technology was announced at the big AMD CES 2022 keynote. The tech was first announced at Computex 2021, and fans have been eagerly awaiting a processor that will put it to use.

That processor is the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which seems like a strange place to start a new range of processors. AMD has its Ryzen 9 chips, after all. That's because the new Ryzen 7 can outclass AMD's Ryzen 9 5900X while gaming, despite using the same architecture.

Read more
Huawei Watch D to launch on December 23
Huawei Watch GT 3 colors.Credits: Huawei Official.

Huawei took great strides in the smartwatch market this year with the launch of the Huawei Watch 3 and 3 Pro, as well as the relatively recent Huawei GT 3. Now, as a part of the year-end holiday season, they will soon reveal their latest smartwatch. The Huawei Watch D launches on December 23.As a part of their latest launch event, the company would unveil the Huawei P50 Pocket, which goes by the name of "Huawei Mate V" in China. The Chinese company will also share further details of the Matebook X Pro laptop. A new product, HarmonyOS powered smart glasses, could also be released at the event.
Huawei has made several smartwatch launches this year, including the Huawei Watch GT 3 (in pic). Image used with permission by copyright holder
High-resolution renders of the official product have now been revealed. The watch has an all-black look with a smooth finish, along with a broad-rectangular watch face. It would also have dedicated buttons for health as well as home screen functions. Sources have suggested that the wearable would be equipped with a medical-grade ECG (Electrocardiogram), which detects a person's heart rhythms for any irregularities. What sets this product apart from regular smartwatches is that it is equipped with a blood pressure monitoring feature. GSM Arena has shared a leaked user guide, which explains how blood pressure can be checked using the device. According to the leaked video, a separate strap needs to be attached to the inside of the watch band to take a blood pressure measurement.The Watch D would have 32MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It is expected to be priced at CNY 2,998 ($470), which is decent given some of its unique features. While the December launch would be limited to China, it could be presented to the rest of the world by the first quarter of 2022. The product could give stiff competition to the Samsung Watch 3, which also has blood-pressure measurement capability.

Read more
Need a last-minute Halloween costume? Check out these 3D-printable getups
3D printed Halloween costumes

Still not sure what to dress up as for Halloween this year? Well, instead of frantically scrambling around town looking for the right shop with the right stuff, have you considered 3D printing your Halloween costume? Check out our list of 3D-printable masks and costume pieces to get all geared up for this year's spooking, then fire up that printer.

If you've already finished your costume and want to get started on your scary movie watchlist, we've put together a list of the best horror movies on Netflix.
Squid Game soldier mask

Read more