Ken Block’s ‘Hoonitruck’ Sets a New Record
Custom 1977 F-150 features world’s largest metal part–an aluminium intake manifold–ever to be printed with 3D technology.
Ken Block has made a career out of pushing boundaries. And Ford is a big part of what drives him. The racer, Hoonigans founder, and Gymkhana Ten star has had a lifelong love affair with Ford pickups. He learned to drive in one, did his first burnout in one, and made a 1977 Ford F-150 the star of his latest video.
The “Hoonitruck” has the same twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost engine as the Ford GT, tuned to deliver more than 900 horsepower, and the largest 3D metal-printed part for a working vehicle in automotive history.
The project was a global effort. Ford Performance engineers in the U.S. ran engine performance simulations and collaborated with a team of Ford research engineers based in Europe to design the part and conduct structural analysis. Working together with RWTH Aachen’s Digital Additive Production Institute, in Germany, the team built an intricate aluminium intake manifold that supplies air from the turbochargers to the engine’s cylinders.
“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 systems in acid,” said Raphael Koch, engineer at Ford of Europe.
Revolutionary 3D printing is a tool-less production method that offers design flexibility to help reduce weight and improve performance. The technology is usually used in the development of Ford vehicles to help test and refine different design approaches and to create tools more quickly and cost-effectively. The whole build process for the Hoonitruck’s manifold took five days.
“I think Ford did an exceptional job,” said Block. “This is my favorite part of the ‘Hoonitruck’. You could not have made it any other way,”
Ford recently received awards from the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers for 3D-printed parts that went into Ford Ranger and Mustang vehicles.