3D printing is gaining popularity, and most importantly, it is developing in literally all areas of production. It would be silly if the principles of layer-by-layer creation of necessary items from a digital model would bypass the motorcycle industry. News headlines from time to time are full of catchy titles about whole bikes printed out on a printer. It should be noted right away that no one printed the entire motorcycle. This industry has not yet developed to bypass the professionals of the motorcycle world and create a full-fledged workable model on the printer. Many parts for such projects were taken in the old fashioned way, but the frames, body kit, windshield, tank, headlights, seat, bearings are already being printed and tested in full.
Experience from TE Connectivity
One of the first motorcycles, most of whose parts were created on a 3D printer, was presented at the exhibition back in 2015 (Rapid 2015)! The author of this miracle turned out to be TE Connectivity, the main task of the motorcycle was to draw attention to the very technology of 3D modeling. In this case, the necessary complex blocks were taken ready-made. The company focused on the manufacture of ABS plastic, paid attention to bearings.
Light Rider Project
Further, the well-known Light Rider project from APWorks, which in turn is a subsidiary of Airbus, joined the well-known models. Yes, that’s right, the idea of a 3D motorcycle from an aircraft company is something new. The motorcycle attracted by the original design of the frame, but did not cause great delight, since it looks like a tuned and devilishly expensive bicycle with the same modest engine capabilities. However, the alloy of this very frame found popularity not only for its bizarre shape. The composition came out fundamentally new for the principles of printing – aluminum, scandium and magnesium. But in any case, who knows what this will result in in the future? Perhaps these are only the first timid steps.
The next most attractive thing is the brainchild of the Californian company Divergent 3D, these guys are specialists in printing for automotive projects. Their idea resulted in the creation of an urban motorcycle, which was boldly named “Dagger”. Again, the goal is not to create a super motorcycle, but to demonstrate new possibilities of 3D printing. Here, in addition to the frame, seat and tank, which were all printed on familiar principles, the design for the chassis was new. The company has managed to make metal parts without using carbon fibers. The rest of the model is more of an exhibition model, the rest of the motorcycle was rearranged from the Kawasaki Ninja H2. This project played 100%, because thanks to it the company became interested in Peugeot and Citroën, there is stable information that they even signed a contract.
Motorplastic from Zortrax
Craftsmen from … Poland suddenly distinguished themselves! An unexpected twist, to be honest. The Zortrax company produces 3D printers, to demonstrate their capabilities, they did not bother with the production of completely new developments, but printed chic plastic. Yes, they did not make any engine elements on a printer, nor did they invent new formats for printing, for example, oil seals, they just beautifully printed absolutely all the plastic on a typical sports bike. It turned out interesting, you won’t say anything. Here’s an example of where 3D printing is heading for the motorcycle industry.
This project was announced at the beginning of 2017. The company has made a short but informative video in which you can see that after printing, the parts also need processing and subsequent painting.
Electric bike Energica Ego
We will complete our tour with the most thoughtful exhibition project, in my opinion. From whom, if not from the Italians, one could expect a truly up-to-date model, which showed not only the possibilities of printing, but also represents a complete concept of a motorcycle. Energica presented an electric bike at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. The organization is a “daughter” of the CRP Group, and then it becomes clear where the legs grow from. If someone is not in the know, then these guys have been developing in motorsport for a long time, so it is logical that their proposal is so relevant. The innovation lies in the use of Windform laser sintering, and the engine is a working model that allows you to accelerate to 100 km / h in just 3 seconds.
Dubbed the Energica Ego, the model is a decent workable proposition, not just a demonstration of how to print a 3D printer. Positioned as a motorcycle for city driving. This is a prime example of what to expect in the motorcycle industry, as e-bikes work best with 3D printing ideas.
From the above 5 examples, we can safely conclude that the development of 3D printing will in no way miss the huge culture of the motorcycle world. Yes, first of all, the emphasis will lie on plastic, body kit elements, possibly parts of equipment. By the time this technology reaches its maximum point of development, in the motorcycle world, perhaps, the era of electric cycles will flourish, the appearance of which is no longer a secret and is gaining popularity for environmental friendliness in other countries.