Using a 3D printer for parts production in the auto industry is hardly novel these days, but 3D printing exactly fitted customizable car seats is quite innovative, or will be as soon as they’re being done for Porsche road cars.
The automaker’s Porsche Tequipment division will be producing 40 prototype examples of its new “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” for some of its Europe-based series-production 911 and 718 race car clients to be delivered in May of this year, and after that it could very well transition into a new road car personalization program.
The prototype seats will be six-point seatbelt equipped race buckets the automaker refers to as “bodyform” seats, and after incorporating design changes brought about by its racecar clients’ feedback, will be making custom-fitted road car variants via its Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur division from the mid-point of 2021.
The road-going seats will be available in soft, medium and hard firmness levels as well as various colours, the latter allowing customers to match their cars’ interior to Porsche’s currently available “Special” colour schemes as well as their clients’ “Custom Colour” requests.
Colour aside, the new 3D-printed bodyform driver’s seat will also add a new design element inside, plus it will reduce the car’s curb weight, and even provide “passive climate control,” the latter feature thanks to the seat’s unique sandwich construction method.
The base support is made from expanded polypropylene (EPP), and this gets bonded to a “breathable comfort layer consisting of a mixture of polyurethane-based materials,” says Porsche. The outer skin is made out of “Racetex,” and boasts a perforation pattern that provides inherent climate control, while window panels expose the coloured lattice structure for a thoroughly new appearance.
“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche. “That’s why personalized seat shells customized for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now. With the ‘3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat’, we’re once again giving series-production customers the opportunity to experience technology carried over from motor sports.”
If you want custom-formed front seats for your Porsche, stay tuned to CarCostCanada, as we’ll have an update when they’re ready for personal road use.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche