As we keep learning, there are dozens of ways that 3D printing can help keep cars on the road. Home hobbyists can quickly prototype parts that will eventually be machined from metal, and plastic bits straight from the printer can replace broken interior trim. BMW even uses 3D-printed cores to cast the cylinder heads of its S58 engines.
What we did not expect to see—at least not yet—were 3D-printed pistons that could survive in some of the most grueling racing applications possible. However, Porsche and parts manufacturer Mahle have apparently accomplished just that, with lightweight pistons for the 911 GT2 RS that shave weight and improve cooling. Even more importantly, the components have survived some hardcore bench testing.
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In case you want to buy one for your race team or restoration shop, the laser sintering powdered metal printers that Porsche is using to make parts start at about a half-million dollars.