Start Your Engines
Nimrod Racing’s parts printed on its Objet Eden250 3D Printer have superior mechanical properties so they can be combined into assemblies.
Nimrod’s 3D printer reduced product time to market to under two months.
Now Nimrod’s market share for designing mini radio controlled vehicles and their parts is steadily increasing.
Racing radio control (R/C) vehicles is a popular hobby the world over. But this hobby is also a thriving industry, with designers and manufacturers catering to hobbyists’ desires for great-looking and great-performing miniature vehicles. Whether for fun or competition, the operation of the R/C cars depends on a multitude of small parts that need to work reliably and smoothly under tough conditions.
Budapest firm Nimrod Racing started off as a technical office designing parts and assemblies for a variety of industries, but it evolved into an expert designer and manufacturer of R/C car components. Initially, Nimrod Racing depended on conventional 3D milling to make metal prototypes.
“The lightweight trend in automobile manufacturing is the same for R/C cars so we needed to replace metal parts with plastic,” says Ádám Novák, design engineer at Nimrod Racing. “Also, the parts are usually quite complex so 3D printing is faster than milling.”
Old Process: A Non-Starter
Moving new products from design to sales used to be a lengthy and wasteful process for Nimrod. After the design phase, the project was sent to manufacturing and then it could take six or seven months until the prototypes were completed. Because Nimrod Racing is in the exclusive modeling business, it needs only a few of each part. However, the company would order many more pieces than needed because only a few of the prototypes would meet its exacting standards. This resulted in a huge amount of waste and added cost.
The half-year or longer wait for prototypes meant that it took a long time to get products to market, which reduced potential revenues. And, the company spent considerable time and money finding and managing suppliers.
Nimrod Racing also needed to produce a wide variety of R/C but a different tool was needed for each rim and wheel. The high number of tools raised manufacturing costs and also carried a high risk as any tooling error could result in production of scrap parts. “All in all, production of tools was very expensive and errors were unavoidable so only large series were profitable,” Novák said.
Lapping the Competition
Nimrod acquired an Objet Eden250 3D Printer, which produces fully cured, highly detailed and accurate models and parts. “We believe that PolyJet™ technology is the best 3D printing technique for us,” said János Márton Szász, managing engineer for Nimrod. “The parts have superior mechanical properties so they can be combined into assemblies. There is no warping or shrinkage during the printing process so we are able to achieve perfect dimensional stability.”
Now Nimrod Racing can manufacture prototypes and end-use parts in-house, greatly reducing leadtime and waste. “We can start sketching in the morning and we often have the final plans on our desk in the afternoon,” said András Szász, managing director and chief designer. “Then we start printing and let the machine work unattended. The prototype is ready when the sun comes up.”
“It used to be that producing an ultra-mini series, such as limited and numbered editions, was simply unaffordable,” András Szász said. “Today, we are able to manufacture small numbers of parts for competitive prices. Our market share is steadily increasing, thanks to our Objet Eden 3D Printer.”
János Márton Szász said that the 3D printer eliminated Nimrod’s reliance on suppliers, shortening time to market to less than two months. “Our engineers don’t spend time searching for and keeping in touch with suppliers. Instead they only focus on their most important work: designing parts and printing prototypes to create mini-series.”
“Our Objet 3D Printer opened the door to the manufacturing of high-quality, yet costeffective, limited editions,” András Szász said. “Because of its reliability, speed and cost, the Objet Eden was definitely the right choice for our company.”