QIDI Tech sponsorship enables car team to 3D print high-temperature parts

5/16/2024 Julia Park

Sponsorship in the form of a new 3D printer from Qidi Tech means the Illini Electric Motorsports team can now manufacture important parts for their car with UL rated materials.

Written by Julia Park

image of Qidi Tech 3D printerDuring the process of building their car, Illini Electric Motorsports (IEM) regularly needs both rapid prototyping and custom one-off parts. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing is one of the most valuable flexible manufacturing methods available. Even prior to the consolidation of the Formula SAE teams, both Illini Motorsports and Illini Formula Electric utilized FDM 3D-printing for vital parts, including the motor cooling sleeves and accumulator components that are used throughout the car.

As the team readied itself for a brand-new season with a pallet of 3D printing filament, they were struck with an issue: there was no printer on campus capable of printing larger parts with UL rated materials.

So the team reached out to QIDI Tech—a 3D printer company based in Zhejiang, China—and was sponsored with their most recent product: the QIDI Tech X-Max 3. The new Klipper-equipped 3D printer has a chamber heater that improves inter-layer adhesion by actively controlling the chamber temperature, and therefore, high-temperature part cooling. This printer also made it possible for the team to conveniently manufacture UL-94 rated flame-retardant components that meet Formula Electric SAE safety requirements.

image of Qidi Tech 3D printer“It has enabled us to print practically all materials,” said Louis Ye, a member of the IEM suspension sub-team. “Even the flame-retardant polycarbonate comes out well.”

The team said they are also thrilled with the impressive speed of the new technology. The “X-Max 3” in the name means that almost any print request can be completed the same day, dramatically improving the team’s efficiency.

“I’m completely spoiled by the speed of this new generation of printers. In fact, when we complain about dialing the print speed down, I have to remind myself that the dialed down speed is still faster than our old team printer,” said Hadley So, IEM President.

QIDI Technology, founded in 2014, is an advanced 3D printer company that manufactures a full series of high-quality FDM printers. With its own R&D center and laboratory, the company has 15,000 square meters of production workshop, 1,000 square meters for R&D, and annual production of 50,000 3D printers.

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This story was published May 16, 2024.