Aston Martin Develops 3D Printed Active Suspension System

While Porsche is printing pistons and Bugatti prints half a car, Aston Martin tinkers in their own luxurious garage. The premier automobile brand from Britain joins those and other performance car manufacturers by adopting metal AM to produce critical automotive components, in this case: active suspension.

Most automotive suspension is passive, made up of a spring (coil or leaf) and a damper (shock absorber). The spring does most of the initial suspension work by allowing the wheel to move up or down when rolling over a bump or hole, and then the damper comes into play by preventing that motion from continuing to bounce like a ball. Passive suspension systems work really well if you know what kind of terrain you’re going to be driving on because the suspension can be tuned (in a shop) to be stiff for smooth roads or loose for uneven rocky surfaces.

But what if you drive on nice roads during the week and tear up the trails on the weekend? That’s where active suspension saves the day. With active suspension, the oil pressure in the damper is controlled by a computer, either manually by the driver or automatically with sensors, depending on the system. So if active suspension offers the best of both worlds, there can be only one reason why it isn’t standard in every car: cost.