Fuller Moto is a leading automotive and motorcycle design and customization shop that inspires, educates and entertains those with a creative spirit and a do-it-yourself attitude. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company doesn’t just customize bikes but also educates and works with gear-heads, enthusiasts and hands-on builders. It is lead and inspired by Bryan Fuller, who is also a master builder, designer as well as a TV personality and author of how-to-build books through his own publishing company, Full-Bore Publishing. The latest project to emerge from this ideal company is the Fuller Moto 2029, a perfect blend of the how latest manufacturing technologies such as metal 3D printing can be used together with traditional metal craft.
At its core, the art of motorcycle building is still very similar to its origins. The difference now is the role technology plays in the evolution of the craft and in the innovation of design. To demonstrate and highlight this, Fuller Moto’s 2029 takes a nod from an incredible and futuristic motorcycle with a revolutionary past, in a bold move to prepare us for a future where anything is possible for a new age of customs.
Fuller and his team 3D printed several parts during the development of the 2029. They are masters at traditional metal crafting however they are also first adopters of new technologies. While subtractive CNC manufacturing opened some new possibilities in terms of geometry, 3D printing opened several more. Now, they are able to produce exactly the part they need, straight from just about any CAD geometry. The 2029 project shows exactly how 3D printing can work together with traditional processes, to enrich and augment them. The original 1929 Majestic, which inspired it, already presented an incredibly innovative style for its time; now the 2029 does the same for our times.
As a unique piece, 3D printing, even with expensive materials such as titanium, is also a cost-effective solution to several manufacturing needs. In the future, as more affordable 3D printable metals and processes are developed, it will make sense to 3D print more parts even in larger product batches.
The 2029 was commissioned by the Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery to create a futuristic motorcycle concept in the style of the French 1929 Majestic. With over 190 bikes, the expansive Haas Collection features unique and one-of-a-kind motorcycles from 1901 to the present day. After debuting during the Hand-Built Show, Fuller Moto’s 2029 will be on display in the Haas Museum’s Custom Shop adjacent to two other Fuller Moto bikes, the ShoGun and the Chief Ambassador. The Fuller Moto exhibit is a stand out in the Haas Museum. Each Fuller Moto bike on display is truly unique, sharing only the qualities of pushing limits in design and process to build something that defies the norm.
Ushering a new era with 3D printing
An electric bike with a fully enclosed sculptured aluminum body, hub-centric steering, clear polycarbonate wheels and titanium parts printed on a 3D printer, this bike is like no other. “We know we are doing something that has never been done before. There is no actual blueprint. We are not doing a production cycle. We are doing a piece of work that is rolling art. It is unique,” said Bobby Haas, collector and owner of the Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery.
Decades ahead of its time, the 1929 Majestic encapsulated a forward-thinking, modern design and represented a new kind of motorcycle. In keeping with the aesthetic, DNA and character of the original Majestic design, the Fuller Moto team set out 100 years later, for their 2029 to celebrate yet another new kind of motorcycle, and one that would again be revolutionary for its day. “There are few times in my career that we have built something so gratifying. The 2029 combines both my drive to innovate and my love of metal,” Fuller said.
With the 2029, Fuller wanted to capture next level design elements and intricacies that until today were difficult to hand craft. Instead of traditional fabrication of the chassis components, Fuller decided to open up the possibilities by using 3D metal printing. He looked to parametric design, the human bones, and generative designs as the inspiration for the suspension pieces and handlebars. Bryan Heidt, lead metal fabricator at Fuller Moto, worked with Fuller on design concepts and provided the initial CAD model dimensions to ensure optimum form and function.
The Fuller Team then shared the models with futurist designer, Nick Pugh to help bring these concepts to life. Nick Pugh is a world-renowned movie concept artist who has designed for popular science-fiction movies like Star Wars, and has worked with movie studios such as Universal, Sony, Fox and Disney, specializing in future worlds and conveying visually complex story-telling. 3D printing service Oerlikon took the CAD from Pugh and turned the parts into metal, using light-weight titanium.
Part 1: Fuller Moto 2029 Concept
Titanium is the strongest, yet lightest material currently being used in 3D printing. Its excellent strength to weight ratio makes it is an ideal material and allows shapes that otherwise would be nearly impossible to handcraft. Some key visual elements of the 2029 bike were made from 3D printed titanium. The front stabilizer arm outside of the front swing-arm captures almost a sword shape look. The steering plate that mounts on the hub up front and mounts the heim joint also has an unusual and unique aesthetic. Fuller believes 3D printing is a new way of thinking but mirrors what we already know. Fuller says, “3D printing is a lot like TIG welding, only a really fine layer at a time.”
Innovation and advancements in motorcycling were purposely considered when developing the concept for the 2029. An electric powertrain was a natural fit for the cutting edge 2029, so Fuller used a Zero Motorcycle FXS electric bike with a range of 100 miles and 78 ft/lbs of torque, as a foundation for the build. The length of the Zero was the same dimensions of the original Majestic, but the motor was a bit low and the batteries too high in the stock chassis. Undeterred, Fuller decided to flip the chassis upside down. The batteries were uniquely modified to be positioned down low so that the motor aligns with the tall, 23-inch wheels. The team was then able to adapt the Zero to the 2029 specs and needs.
A blast from the past
The fully enclosed sculptured aluminum body of the 2029 was designed to look very similar to the 1929 Majestic. The initial outline was made with 1/4” steel rod MIG welded together and bolted on to the aluminum chassis. This allowed it to be removed and worked from the bench. Patterns were made from chipboard and then shaped. 3003 H14 .063 thickness was used to form the panels.
To make the top ridges of the front and rear fender areas, first, a 4-inch wide piece of aluminum was broken in the center. Then a Pullmax die was cut on the MultiCam WaterJet to the shape desired and run through on high speed, providing a consistent streamlined side view profile to the top edge. Fuller patterned and shaped in the “gills” in front of the low wheel. The “gills” were constructed to be diffusers for the air that comes through the body panels, thereby reducing drag and also filling unused and ugly space. A tinted blue hue was sprayed inside parts of the bike’s body, including the “gills”, to reflect color on an otherwise stark silver canvas. The color blue was inspired by the original Majestic emblem that was put on the 100 reportedly built examples.
Unlike most bikes which have a traditional front fork setup, the 2029 has hub centric steering coming off of a front swing-arm. Hub-centric steering is very unusual and has only been used in a few bikes such as the Bimota, Ner-a-Car and of course the 1929 Majestic. Bryan Heidt found a donor hub from a Bimota Spirit off a model called the Tesi. The reliable and functional parts of the Tesi provided the right dimensions, bearing, bushings, as well as overall design.
With its unconventional style and innovative build techniques, the 2029 asks us to think differently about design and provides us a glimpse into what may be to come. While many ideas on building customs are well established, others continue to evolve as more and more technological advancements take place; enlightening us to not only see what is, but what could be. New design processes like 3D printing parts, open up a new world of possibilities. A world where anything one can dream can be manifested into physical form. This unleashing of human creativity was the underlying intent of the 2029. It leaves us thinking, “if you had absolutely no limitations, what would you create?” Welcome to the new age of customs.