Ken Block, star of the Gymkhana YouTube videos, has had a love affair with Ford vehicles – and especially Ford trucks – for as long as he can remember. His first burnout was in a Ford pickup. He’s just made a new Gymkhana video and made his latest creation, a 1977 Ford F-150, the star. He calls his new creation Hoonitruck. He went to Ford’s engineers for a custom part for the build and they sent him history’s largest 3D metal-printed part in use on a working vehicle ever.
No Off-the-Shelf Parts Fit the Need for the Build
Instead of the Coyote engine you’d expect to see in a build of this sort, Block went with the same engine found in the Ford GT – a twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost that’s been tuned to pump out a spine-tingling 900+ horsepower. However, the intake on the GT didn’t fit the build/truck, so Block turned to Ford Performance engineers to design and produce one that would.
Engineers in the USA got to work designing the intake in modeling software and running performance simulations. They then sent the finished design to Ford of Europe engineers for validation and structural analysis testing. Once that testing was completed, the designs were sent to RWTH Aachen’s Digital Additive Production Institute for their 3D additive metal printing process. That team used aluminum in the additive process to create the intake above. 3D printing the approximately 12-pound manifold took five days.
Block told reporters, “I think Ford did an exceptional job. This is my favorite part of the ‘Hoonitruck.’ You could not have made it any other way.” Raphael Koch, an engineer with 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. The manifold has a complex web-like structure that couldn’t be made using traditional manufacturing methods. We ended up dissolving the support system in acid.”