Exotic Cars

Bugatti's 3D-printed titanium brake calipers are insanely cool

French automaker reveals ultra-lightweight brake components made from titanium dust and laser beams.

Bugatti

You're looking at what Bugatti says is the world's first brake caliper produced by a 3D printer. Not only that, the Chiron hypercar manufacturer claims that this eight-piston monobloc caliper is the "largest titanium functional component produced by additive manufacturing," and the biggest automotive brake caliper in the world, full stop.

The new caliper, constructed of 2,213 layers of titanium powder, is ultra light, weighing in at just 6.3 pounds. An equivalent, conventionally made aluminum caliper weighs 10.8 pounds. That's around a 40-percent weight loss, and the new 3D-printed item is said to be stronger as well. The parts can withstand some 276 pounds of pressure per millimeter.

Developed in concert with the Laser Zentrum Nord in Hamburg, Germany, the 3D-printed caliper is created out of titanium using a printer equipped with four 400-watt laser melting units. Bugatti says each caliper takes around 45 hours to print, and the production process also involves 11 hours of finishing work on a five-axis milling machine, plus a heat-treatment session that involves heating the caliper to nearly 1,300° Fahrenheit. 

Each finished caliper is 16.1 inches long, 8.3 inches wide and 5.4 inches high.

It's unconfirmed if the Chiron will receive these calipers, but it's the only model Bugatti makes...

Bugatti

Bugatti says that these 3D-printed brake calipers will undergo testing in the first half of this year, with an eye towards eventual production. Interestingly, parent company Volkswagen Group is also eyeing the 3D-printing project, suggesting that eventually, similar technology could help make future Tiguan and Jetta models better.

For now, the entire manufacturing process sounds time intensive and hideously expensive, but Bugatti is expecting to speed up the printing prior to eventual series production, and if any new-car customer can absorb the cost of one of these trick 3D-printed pieces, it's a Bugatti customer.

Wouldn't these calipers look sensational on a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport?