Ford Engineers Break Records and Bring Ken Blocks “Hoonitruck” to Life

Ford engineers created the largest 3D metal-printed part for a working vehicle in automotive history, in an effort to make Gymkhana TEN star Ken Block’s “Hoonitruck” a reality.

The “Hoonitruck” has the same twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine as the Ford GT supercar, but it's turned up to 11 with an engine tune that delivers more than 900 horsepower!

The project was a global effort. Ford Performance engineers in the U.S. ran the engine performance simulations and the European team designed the record breaking part and conducted structural analysis. After a lot of collaboration and experimentation the cross continental team created an intricate aluminum intake manifold that supplies the air from the turbos to the engine’s cylinders.

The manifold has a complex web-like structure that just could not be created with traditional manufacturing methods. Raphael Koch, engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe said, “We are fortunate to have access to incredible technology, but this was one project that pushed us — and our computing power — to the absolute limit.”

Even after the piece was printed the work wasn’t done because the piece was filled with plastic supports that are often used during 3D printing. The team had to get rid of those, and the solution was to dip the whole manifold in acid to dissolve them.

The tool-less production method, 3D printing, offers design flexibility to help reduce weight and improve performance in ways that were never before possible. The technology is typically used in the development of Ford vehicles to help test and refine multiple design approaches. Weight was certainly reduced for the “Hoonitruck” as the whole manifold only weighs around 13lbs.

This whole project was inspired by Ken Block’s deep-seated love for Ford pick-ups. He learned to drive in one, did his first burn-out in one, and made the 1977 Ford F-150 the star of his latest video. Block said, “I think Ford did an exceptional job. This is my favourite part of the ‘Hoonitruck’. You could not have made it any other way.”

Not only could the part not be made any other way, but likely not by anyone else. Ford recently received awards from the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers for 3D-printed parts that went into Ford Ranger and Mustang vehicles, so it’s no surprise that the engineers at Ford are going to keep pushing the envelope.

Check out a little bit of the process of creating the record breaking part here, and don’t forget to check out GYMKHANA TEN!

We can’t wait to see Ford, the engineers, and Ken Block come up with next!

Categories: News
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