This is one of the most innovative uses of the technology we've seen.
The versatility of 3D printing, whereby almost any geometric shape can be made when the printer is fed with design data, continues to amaze. Porsche has utilized the technology before to create racing bucket seats, while Bugatti has turned to 3D printing to make its titanium exhausts. But Porsche's latest use of the tech for the 911 GT2 RS, in collaboration with Mahle and Trumpf, is even more intricate: the manufacturer is now creating this sports car's pistons using 3D printing.
According to Porsche, creating the pistons in this way has reduced their weight by 10 percent compared to forged series production pistons.
"Thanks to the new, lighter pistons, we can increase the engine speed, lower the temperature load on the pistons and optimize combustion," said Frank Ickinger, who works at Porsche's advance drive development department.
These advantages are especially valuable in the GT2 RS with its massive performance potential. In fact, Ickinger suggested the 3D-printed pistons have added another 30 horsepower to the twin-turbo engine. This could mean that the upcoming RS has around 720 hp, up from the outgoing version's 690 hp.
It's all made possible by high-purity metal powder, which is what the RS' pistons were made from using a laser metal fusion process.
Added to this, the 3D-printed pistons have another advantage over conventional ones - an integrated and closed cooling duct within the piston crown. To ensure the quality of the components, measurement technology from Zeiss was used.
It's no surprise that the GT2 RS is the Porsche chosen to showcase the use of 3D-printed pistons, as manufacturing pistons in this fashion can't possibly be cheap, and neither is the GT2 RS. The last one to be sold nearly reached the $300,000 mark, and we can't see the new GT2 RS coming in at any less than that. Whether the next GT2 RS officially uses 3D pistons or not, it should once again follow in its predecessor's record-breaking footsteps.