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Markforged Gives Back: BattleScarred Motorsports

By Johanna Van Straalen

Who is Battle Scarred Motorsport?

Battle Scarred Motorsports is a mental health resilience resource providing functional therapy to active duty members of the military, veterans, and first responders. The organization was founded in 2017 by Brian Czech, an Active Duty US Marine, to support veterans and first responders suffering from depression and PTSD. Battle Scarred Motorsports recreates a bond similar to what is experienced while serving and offers camaraderie and an extended family. This is done by getting members driving and pit crewing “race cars” in the 24 Hours of Lemons series.

Why Markforged?

Brian Czech first reached out to Markforged in late December 2020 asking Markforged to become a team sponsor. He reached out after a few members of the team recommended Markforged after working with the company while on active duty with the Marine Corps. They knew that Markforged could help them design and create a variety of strong, functional parts. More importantly, the transportability of the printer enables the team to bring the printer to the various endurance races around the country and create parts on the fly to keep their cars on the track. The Battle Scarred team knows that 3D printing is a great way to customize and repair equipment.

"Markforged and its alliance with Battle Scarred Motorsports provides and invaluable edge which our military and first responders can utilize as they are fighting for position on track. Our endurance race cars are instrumental, in giving back to those who’ve given so much...they’ve allowed us to print in a matter of hours, critical components and better focus our funding into the program of keeping our “vessels of help” out on track." - Brian Czech, Active Duty US Marine Captain, Founder and President of Battle Scarred Motorsport

It did not take long after that for Markforged to become an official sponsor by donating a Desktop 3D printer, materials, and application engineering hours. The possibilities for the Battle Scarred team are now endless. More than just a cost saving, this has opened up a whole new way to customize, and fix when needed, the fleet of cars for the endurance races.

It starts with strong parts. Then it gets better.

Nate Samson, Application Engineer with Markforged, and Tony Higgins, Markforged Federal Manager, have been involved since the beginning with Brian and his team. Nate donated his time and expertise to understand how Markforged could make the biggest impact for the first race the team would have after getting the printer, 24 Hours of Lemons at the NOLA Raceway.

"Markforged composite 3D printing and race cars go hand in hand. The Digital Forge offers materials that can withstand the intense racing environment, hardware that can produce parts alongside the pit crew at the track, and software to enable seamless printing." - Nate Samson, Markforged AE.

The two quickly got to work evaluating where printed parts could replace traditional or store bought parts. Producing strong parts with good surface finishes enabled them to determine where the printer could make the biggest impact.

The first priority they found was managing engine heat in a safe and cost effective way to protect the engine and the driver. Heat vents can be costly to manufacture in traditional ways, especially if customization is needed. 3D printing eliminates these restrictions. The base material of Onyx is perfect for industrial reasons and chemical resistivity. It’s tough and heat resistant, a great choice for withstanding engine heat and a nice surface finish to keep the cars aerodynamic.

Next comes custom brackets and mounts. When access to a regular supply chain is limited, be it during an endurance race or deployed on the front line, being able to quickly design and print custom brackets and mounts is critical.

"3D printing parts to help repair and modify old race cars is very similar to the use cases we see from our military customers printing parts at the point of need to maintain equipment. Whether the printing takes place at the race track or the battle field, Markforged printers are consistent and rugged enough to get the job done." Tony Higgins, Markforged Federal Manager.

What is next for this partnership?

The possibilities are endless. The day before the 24 Hours of Lemons race commenced the Markforged team helped design and print hood louvers for one of the cars, which was ready to install on the morning of the race. This simple part made it easier for the crew to work on the engine and it provided a 75% cost reduction from traditional methods. And this is only the beginning.

The Onyx Pro will travel with the team across the country as they participate in races, and will be running in the background between races, printing parts to be installed in the cars as well as spares that will inevitably be needed during or after these endurance races.

“Now we can have our own parts, we don’t have to worry about buying them, we can print our own supply of spares” Brian Strack, Retired US Marine Corp.

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