Additive manufacturing is offering unique design. Such a design is the Light Rider, world’s first 3D printed prototype for a motorcycle. “The complex and branched hollow structure couldn’t have been produced using conventional production technologies such as milling or welding,” said Joachim Zettler, CEO of Airbus APWorks GmbH, which is a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Group. The innovative design was made possible by combining topology optimization and an own material development.

The facts speak for themselves. The prototype weighs only 35 Kilos, with a frame weight of 6 Kilo. A 4 Kilowatt electrical engine is accelerating the motorcycle to a top speed of 80km/h.

The light weight comes from a bionic structure which was created by topology optimization. “Advances in additive layer manufacturing have allowed us to realize the bionic design we envisioned for the motorcycle without having to make any major changes. With these technologies, the limitations facing conventional manufacturing disappear. Innovative designs and products for various applications are possible,” Zettler added.

In addition to topology optimization, the material Scalmalloy®, a high performance aluminum alloy developed by Airbus, was a success factor. The material is not only corrosion-resistant but combines the light weight of aluminum with almost the specific strength of titanium. “The Light Rider showcases how we are able to save weight by creating a filigree structure, which can only be realized by using high strength lightweight materials such as Scalmalloy®,” explains Zettler.

APWorks stands for the development of innovative parts and products by leveraging the triad of re-engineering, material optimization, and 3D printing. The combination of these factors leads to weight and cost savings, can reduce assembly time and what makes it special: helps to integrate new and additional functions in parts and products.

Source & pictures: press release APWorks
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Guy Salens

Guy Salens (motorcycle enthousiast): I want to show the world an overview of existing electric motorcycles and future projects. Because it's time.