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APWorks Launches the World’s First 3D Printed Motorcycle


Ottobrunn, Germany – From home décor to medical prosthetics, robotic parts to aircraft interiors, 3D printing is the future of manufacturing. APWorks, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus Group, has worked at the forefront of additive layer manufacturing (ALM) and advanced materials since its launch in 2013. APWorks produces bionically optimized metal parts for a wide range of industries, from aerospace to automotive and robotics. Its newest creation? The world’s first 3D-printed motorcycle, made using APWorks’ Scalmalloy material, weighing in at a svelte 35 kg.

3D printed Light Rider motorcycle weighs a mere 35 kgDubbed the Light Rider, the new APWorks design has truly earned its name as a lightweight in its class. With a 6 kW electric motor powering it from zero to 80 km per hour in just seconds and a frame weighing a mere 6 kg, the world’s first 3D-printed electric motorcycle is 30% lighter than conventionally manufactured e-motorcycles.

3D-printing technologies have revolutionized the design and manufacturing process – not only in terms of structure and aesthetics, but also in impressive weight savings on parts and equipment when compared to those made using conventional manufacturing techniques. APWorks used an algorithm to develop the Light Rider’s optimized structure to keep weight at a minimum while ensuring the motorcycle’s frame was strong enough to handle the weight loads and stresses of everyday driving scenarios. The result: a motorcycle that looks more like an organic exoskeleton than a machine. That was a very deliberate design goal for APWorks, which programmed the algorithm to use bionic structures and natural growth processes and patterns as the basis for developing a strong but lightweight structure.

The Light Rider’s design echoes the form of a conventional motorcycle – but looks like a distant relative of today’s motorbikes. “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. “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,” he added.

Editor's note: A number of media outlets report that APWorks has made 50 of these motorcycles and they are for sale at an MSRP of $56,095. 

Published Date : 5/26/2016

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