Old dog, new tricks

Porsche Classic wants to keep its older models running longer, with to the introduction of new 3D-printing technology.

The company says too many owners and collectors are hamstrung by hard-to-find spare parts, which can lead to vehicle problems, or even forcing them out of action.

With some 52,000 parts in its range, Porsche Classic – the division of the German marque dedicated to classic vehicles – is now employing the new printing method to produce ultra-rare parts to their original specifications.

Normally, parts are reproduced using the original tools if they're required in small numbers. When larger amounts are required, however, the company may need to use a newer, faster production method – like 3D printing.

Currently, Porsche is manufacturing nine different parts using 3D printing, including the release lever for the clutch on the rare Porsche 959.

Above: A crank arm for a Porsche 964 created using 3D printing.

The production method is explained as follows:

"To manufacture the release lever, a layer of powdery tool steel less than 0.1 millimetres thick is applied to a processing plate in a computerised process. In an inert atmosphere, a high-energy light beam then melts the powder in the desired locations to create a steel layer. Thus, the complete three-dimensional component is produced, layer by layer"

Porsche says parts manufactured using this process have all passed durability tests with "flying colours", suggesting they meet higher quality standards than the original ones.

Additionally the company says a further 20 parts are being trialled for 3D printing, which will allow Porsche to eliminate more tool and storage costs compared to the traditional production method.