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Laser Lines has supplied a prototyping Fortus 3D production system from Stratasys to an automotive designer, enabling it to reduce costs and lead times on the production of prototype parts.

Gordon Murray Design, led by McLaren Formula One designer Gordon Murray, is based in Surrey, UK.

Formed in 2007, the company is involved in automotive intellectual property, design, prototyping and development.

Its first prototype, the T.25 City Car made its first public appearance in June 2010.

The company invested in an additive manufacturing system in order to manage the entire design and prototyping process in house.

The machine is used in the prototype workshop to build multiple components for design and tooling.

The company purchased a Fortus 3D production system from Stratasys, citing ease of use and installation as being crucial for the company during the selection process.

Gordon Murray Design is fundamentally an RandD company and, as such, the team is programmed to push design boundaries and solve problems.

This has meant it has been able to get more from the machine than originally envisaged.

‘We recently had a problem with the extrusions on rubber door seals,’ said Murray.

‘Each time we tried to pull them into place the corners creased.

‘We thought we would need to get a new tool moulded just to enable us to pull the corners through.

‘However, the designers decided to try the Fortus 400mc and managed to make both the tool and a soluble core directly on the machine.

‘Into this mould, we were able to cast elastomer polyurethane resin to form the seals.

‘The whole thing ending up costing us GBP1 instead of the GBP20,000 it would have cost to have it made off site,’ he added.

Prototyping and manufacturing using the Stratasys machine plays a significant part in helping to reduce development costs across the board.

The Fortus 400mc has been involved throughout the design and prototype of the company’s inaugural vehicle, code-named T.25.

The T.25 design has been optimised for strength, performance, weight, cost, safety, usability, tooling, quality, energy efficiency, recyclability and ease of assembly.

The Fortus 400mc was in use on the design of the T.25 every day.

‘We were initially using the machine as a design tool but soon discovered that we could use it more and more for structural parts,’ said Murray.

‘In fact, we’ve designed the entire T.25 interior using the Stratasys machine – including the instrument panel, sun visor, internal mirrors and internal trim.

‘We expect to be able to do the same with our next project, the T.27,’ he added.

The machine has helped Gordon Murray Design to reduce costs and lead times associated with the production of many other prototype parts, enabling projects to be delivered quicker and more effectively.

The company is now using the Stratasys machine for its T.27, an all-electric three-seater city car.

All Stratasys FDM machines are available in the UK from Laser Lines.

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