Like other Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, Charlie Kimball is figuratively and literally connected to his race car. Also like other drivers, Kimball has a drink system mounted in the car. His has a twist.
Because of his type 1 diabetes, Kimball has two reservoirs at his disposal — one filled with water and the other with orange juice, which contains carbohydrates if Kimball determines his blood sugar level needs a quick boost. Both options are attached to a valve, which is clipped to his seat harness.
His father, Gordon, a renowned motorsports engineer, designed the valve, and it was 3D printed from Nylon 12 PA in Charlotte, N.C.
“We were looking for a small production run and wanted it to be lightweight, but we couldn’t find anything commercially available that would work,” Kimball said. “My father was interested in doing the design and learning more about the 3D printing options.
“Traditionally, he always has to consider how to machine a part – wheel nuts, tripods, drive shafts – you have to consider how it actually gets made, where with a 3D printer you just draw exactly what you want and it prints it. So he was able to say, ‘I want it to look like this, the valve swing to be this much,’ all that stuff.”
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