3D Printing ProcessesCase StudiesMass ProductionMotorcyclesRapid Prototyping

EICMA 2016 Photos and Three Cases For 3D Printing in the Motorcycle Industry

As you probably know, rapid prototyping (and 3D printing) are used extensively in car manufacturing. Many industrial 3D printing techniques used there can of course be applied to motorcycles. Let’s check out some of the most interesting cases for 3D printed motorcycles.

Motorsports: Ducati’s Desmosedici

The Ducati’s Desmosedici new engine was developed 80% faster thanks to in-house 3D printing (image: Ducati)

One of Ducati’s key challenges when turning to 3D printing was to reduce time-to-market for by reducing the design cycle for new products such as its Desmosedici race bike.

To help meet this challenge, they turned to industrial Fortus 3D printers by Stratasys. These are machines that work like your average desktop 3D printer. Except they guarantee the quality and repeatability necessary for large manufacturers.

Ducati bought two Fortus Series 3D printers. By bringing all prototyping activities in-house, the company cut 20 months from the development process of the engine designed for its Desmosedici race bike. It was designed and assembled in only eight months while the company’s previous engine had taken 28 months to design and build.

demosedici engine
Ducati created a prototype of the entire engine with FDM technology (image: Stratasys)

“Prior to purchasing the prototyping systems, our service-bureau expenses totaled approximately 1 million euros per year. That was much higher than the cost of purchase, maintenance, and materials for the two FDM machines. Not only can we produce higher quantities of parts at a fraction of the cost, but we are also able to forecast costs for each project much more accurately,” said Piero Giusti, R&D CAD Manager for Ducati Motor Holding Spa.


Rapid Prototyping: Energica Ego

Using SLS 3D printing technology and different types of Windform, CRP was able to prototype, build and launch the Energica Ego electric super bike win just two years, from 2013 to 2015. The whole 1:1 scale master model of the Ego was built for testing the assembly, overall dimensions, space optimization, raceways, and verification of different parts, both static and partly dynamic, and electronic equipment.Another incredible 3D printed motorcycle success story is the Energica Ego by CRP Group, a small international company based in Modena. CRP has specialized in offering 3D printing services to the nearby companies of Italy’s Motor Valley and has even developed its line of advanced 3D printable materials called Windform.

Motor power terminal cover
Many functional parts of the 1:1 prototype zero were build with laser sintering (image: CRP)

The functioning  “proto zero”, which was tested on several thousand kilometers of road, consisted of several 3D printed parts: The hulls, the frame of the dashboard mount, the windshield, the under-saddle, and saddle (including the rubbery part).  Other 3D printed parts included covers, electronic insulators, cable clamps, front and rear fender, in addition to other components less subject to stress such as the chain cover and headlights.

Experimental: Easy Rider, 3D Printing Style

TE demonstrated that it’s possible to make a full motorcycle even using desktop 3D printing technology (image: TE Connectivity)

TE Connectivity is a very large manufacturers of highly engineered connectors, sensors and electronic components. Like many large companies, it decided to undertake a 3D printing challenge in-house. The goal was to assess better the potential of this technology. The result is a Harley Davidson lookalike motorcycle. It demonstrates the ability to design a motorcycle on a computer; 3D print it using FFF technology, add tires and a motor, and ride it.

Almost all parts of the motorcycle were 3D printed in plastic using ABS filament (image TE Connectivity via Gizmag)

The TE motorcycle measures 2.4 m and weighs 113.4 kg. The frame was 3D printed and can support a total of 181 kg. Other non-3D printed part included the braking system, electrical wiring, battery, belt drive, mirrors, side stand and some bolts. A small one hp (750W) electric motor can power a 24 km/h ride for several minutes, which is not exactly breakneck speed. But it’s a start, and 3D printing evolution goes very fast.

Compared to the previous examples, this motorcycle was manufactured using regular ABS materials and desktop 3D printing technology. So if you have a large 3D printer, some good mechanical skills and about 1.000 hours to spare, you can make one at home as well.

License: The text of “3D Printed Motorcycles You Should Know About” originally published by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Davide Sher

Since 2002, I have built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, I spent 12 years in the United States, where I received my Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree. As a journalist covering the tech industry - especially the videogame industry - for over 10 years, I began covering the AM industry specifically in 2013, as blogger. In 2016 I co-founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which operates in marketing, editorial, and market analysis & consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, and leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore. I am also a Senior Analyst for leading US-based firm SmarTech Analysis focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets.
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