Following not long after the worlds first 3D printed fully functional car, Swiss company TE Connectivity has unveiled the very first 3D printed motorcycle that you can actually ride. We were slightly disappointed to hear that the tires weren’t printed as well, but perhaps our expectations aren’t quite aligned with the the technologies capabilities at this stage.
It’s still an incredible achievement with the frame, bearings, wheels and even the engine all printed using ABS plastics. The bike was modeled on a Harley-Davidson Softail and uses a very little 1 horsepower electric motor that can get the bike up to a top speed of 24 kph (15 m/ph) for a few minutes – meaning it has the performance of an HD too (I kid, I kid!).
Despite being made primarily of ABS plastic, the bike can carry a rider and a pillion with a combined weight of 180 kg. Other parts that weren’t printed include all the wiring, brakes, mirrors and a few other minor items. As far as the creation goes, the load-bearing parts of the bike were made using what is called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) where layers of ABS plastic are combined with a resin called Ultem 9085 which provides added strength without increasing the materials weight too much.
While an actual practical 3D printed motorcycle is a long, long way off, it’s certainly exciting to see the possibilities when it comes to the creation of spare parts to replace damaged fairings and other pieces of a damaged motorcycle. Apparently, Ducati is in talks with the maker of the printers used in this process, Stratasys about using the FDM process for prototyping.