Australian engineer and pre-war motorcar specialist, Grant Cowie, has successfully restored the only remaining 1914 Delage Type-S Grand Prix car with the help of 3D printing. The engine, which was completely recreated using a 3D printed mold of sand, was restored without any spare parts, design drawings/models or manufacturing assistance. Cowie relied solely on the assistance of 3D scanning & 3D printing technologies to produce the required parts for the car.
Delage, a French luxury car manufacturer founded in 1905, seized operations in 1953. Because they’ve been out of business for over 60 years, there are essentially no trace of manufacturing remnants from the company, meaning there was basically no access to the car’s design or blueprints. For Steve Murdoch, car enthusiast and owner of the 1914 Delage, this was nearly catastrophic for his car when the engine block cracked, preventing the car from working. Luckily for Murdoch, Grant Cowie would come to his aid and help restore the car.
According to Cowie, “I knew that to use the traditional method, which involves a wooden pattern, would be prohibitively expensive and with such a complicated casting it was possible it would take several attempts to get it correct…” Because of this, Cowie turned to 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to successfully rebuild the engine – a very complex process which no mechanic had ever completed on such an old automobile.
The first step for Cowie was to conduct 3D scans on the engine block. After taking these scans over a few days, Cowie was able to fix the cracks with CAD software and restore the engine’s structural integrity. Following the 3D scanning and 3D design process was the task of taking this digital model and producing a real engine. Using a 3D printer, Cowie created the previously referenced sand mold for the engine. This mold was taken to an iron foundry where the ending was cast inside the 3D printed mold and eventually finished using traditional machining tools.
The final, and most important step was to test this engine that Cowie had created with 3D scanning and 3D printing. After successfully installing the new engine into the 1914 Delage Type-S, the car started right up and Murdoch was able to drive it from the shop. “It is a considerable achievement for all those involved and, might I say, quite an achievement for Australian engineering,” said a relieved Murdoch. The project manager, Philip Guilfoyle believes that this project will drive new manufacturing techniques, such as 3D scanning and 3D printing, forward in the world of auto-mechanics.