Published on February 10th, 2019 | by Nicolas Zart
February 10th, 2019 by Nicolas Zart
The unsung hero of the rEVolution is probably the motorcycle industry. Electric motorcycles (e-motorcycles) have disrupted that industry and left a few complacent motorcycle makers in the dust who are doubling down on gasoline instead of embracing a torquier electric motor.
With the advent of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, already used in the aviation industry, what about 3D printing motorcycles riding on airless tires?
The intelligent use of modern technologies to give us more efficient mobility is what we live for. 3D printing and additive manufacturing hold much potential to shape, bend, and mix stronger, lighter, and stiffer materials for electric vehicles in general.
BigRep already 3D-printed airless motorcycle tires for everyday use. It finally added a proper 3D printed electric motorcycle on top of them. The consulting group claims its NERA E-Motorcycle is the world’s first fully 3D printed e-motorcycle that rides on airless tires. It also sports embedded electronics and forkless steering.
Using BigRep’s PRO FLEX TPU thermoplastic polyurethane filament, the flexible and moldable amalgamation allows a functional integration of components as well as embedding technology within its structure.
This is where the various mobility industries can benefit most from 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Making materials lighter and tougher can be enhanced by embedding technology directly into the material. Imagine a front fascia with everything embedded in it, such as turn signals, lights, and electronics. The flipside means changing everything in a modular way, something that usually works well for makers, less for consumers.
According to NewAtlas, the NERA E-Bike was designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori with Maximilian Sedlak from the company’s Nowlab innovation consultancy and printed on BigRep’s own large-scale 3D printers using ProHT, ProFLEX, PETH, and PLA filaments.
The Potential of 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing for Mobility
The group also has a few more proofs of concept, such as the Omni Platform, a 3D printed platform that rests on its Omni wheels that can move in any direction without turning. There’s also a kinetic design called the Adaptive Robotic Gripper, that holds any geometry and uses force-monitoring sensors to automatically adjust the pressure of its grip. It also has a parametric design using a 3D printed formwork for what it calls a Smart Concrete Wall. They embedded it with sensors and removable 3D printed lights.
It’s a wonder traditional mobility makers haven’t invested more into 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Although the technology is becoming mainstream in aviation, it will be a leap forward in the automotive industry.
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