3D printed motorcycle: Is it functional?
Posted By Lucie Gaget on Dec 12, 2018 | 0 comments
We already know that additive manufacturing is particularly great for the automotive industry: It will help you in your manufacturing process to reduce costs or to create custom-made 3D printed parts. But now, with the constant progress of companies in large-scale 3D printing, it is possible to get more than a few 3D printed automobile parts: You can now build fully 3D printed vehicles.
With a design made by their NowLAB, Big Rep developed the world first 3D printed motorcycle, unveiled during the last edition of Formnext. Here is all you need to know about this 3D printing project right now.
The 3D printed motorcycles: How is it even possible?
BigRep’s new project
This motorbike was designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori and Maximilian Sedlak, from BigRep’s, NowLAB. This innovation lab from BigRep allows testing new 3D printing materials and techniques, without selling them. They are, for example experimenting with 3D printing concrete or 3D printed recyclable and biodegradable products. This lab is really made to explore new innovative concepts like this electric motorbike project.
At Sculpteo we have already made a functional 3D printed bike. Now the German company BigRep went further and unveiled the first 3D printed motorbike, and it is fully functional! This electric motorbike is called Nera and it has an electric engine embedded in the back rim.
Additive manufacturing definitely helps to develop amazing projects. For example, this 3D printed motorcycle has quite an impressive design, and 3D printing actually allowed to create an amazing prototype of this futuristic vehicle.
And here is what is most impressive, when we tell you that this motorcycle has been 3D printed, it means that all the parts have actually been 3D printed! The electronic parts are the only parts which are not 3D printed on this motorcycle. Otherwise, everything has been 3D-printed, including the seat, frame, tires, rims, and the fork, that are actually connecting the front wheel and axle to the frame.
You can see this impressive project in the video below:
Large-scale 3D printing: How this 3D printed electric motorcycle has been made
How has this 3D printed electric motorbike been made? The project has been manufactured using Fused Filament Fabrication process (or FFF). This process is feeding a continuous filament of thermoplastic material through a moving, heated printer extruder head. They used a BigRep’ large-scale 3D printer in order to get all of these parts.
Additive manufacturing allows creating designs with a lot of freedom which is perfect for big projects like this one. Indeed, this freedom of design is amazing for small projects but is starting to be applied to bigger projects. Large-scale 3D printing is really promising and growing in the 3D printing industry. We saw in previous blog posts that additive manufacturing was helping to build houses and bridges.
Design and engineering work: Why 3D printing is the solution
A 3D printed motorcycle is a great idea but, why was 3D printing the best manufacturing technique for this project? Additive manufacturing is amazing for low batches, and it allows to reduce lead time and costs. This manufacturing technology actually has great advantages for prototyping projects, it will definitely help you save time, money, and get more freedom.
This electric vehicle might really be the motorcycle of the future; With features such as airless tires, avoiding traditional tires problems is also a really promising innovation. Check out our blog post about 3D printed tires to understand what could be the advantages of this new development.
There was also a big mechanical engineering work on this project, as engineers didn’t only want to recreate a traditional motorcycle design. Indeed, the vehicle also boasts forkless steering with eight pivot joints, it has a lightweight rhomboid wheel rim and amazing embedded LED lights with 3D printed reflectors.
This motorcycle has a strong hexagonal structure, perfect for load-bearing elements like the wheels. Engineering creativity has been pushed to its limits with this 3D printing project.
Reminder about 3D printing and the automotive industry
3D printing has some great advantages for the automotive field, we saw it on previous blog posts! Indeed, 3D printing can perfectly be included in the manufacturing process of car manufacturers. It allows the creations of many 3D printed car parts, for example, or the development of new designs and innovations like we just saw with the electric motorbike.
It is also a great solution for weight reduction, avoiding material loss, creating some custom-made parts, and creating spare parts more easily. You will just have to scan existing parts or design it using your 3D software.
Indeed, we could also talk about the benefits of using 3D modeling software for the automobile industry. These programs are really helpful to get a better visualization of the project before actually manufacturing it.
Using both 3D software and 3D printing could really help your company to save time and money, and to achieve bigger projects. You will get 3D printable models quite easily by using the right software and it will surely improve your manufacturing process. If you already have your STL files you can upload them on our online 3D printing service, and you will get your parts in a few days, once it is out of our 3D printers.
Share with us your view of this impressive 3D printing project! Would you be ready to ride a 3D printed electric motorbike?
Additive manufacturing has a lot of possibilities to offer for the future for the automobile industry! The possibility of a fully 3D printed car is now appearing closer than ever.
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