In recent years, 3D printing has gained more ground in the automotive industry. This manufacturing technique helps to create prototype parts and add new iterations within a short time. Among the many 3D printing for automotive applications is the creation of 3D printed motorcycle parts.
Making motorcycle parts with 3D printer is now more seamless, thanks to technological advancements. Companies now empower their engineers to create these motorcycle parts with lesser time, effort, and money.
This article discusses the impacts of 3D printing in motorcycle part production. You will also learn the advantages and limitations of 3D printing motorcycle parts. Let’s get right to it!
Overview: Development of 3D Printed Motorcycle
When it comes to rapid prototyping, we aim at low volume productions demanding swift turnarounds. Manufacturing motorcycle parts with complex geometries will require several machining components and tool building.
This can be complicated and may increase costs in the development cycle. Using additive manufacturing (3D printing) eliminates the need for tool building. It creates an opportunity for open-minded designers to generate motorcycle structures with minimal materials.
The critical element driving the adoption of 3D printing in motorcycle industry is the use of electric powertrains. Electric motors generate relatively lower temperatures. There is also a higher impact in terms of weight reduction. Thus, 3D printable polymers are becoming more viable options for several high-end motorcycle parts.
3D printing makes it feasible to create unique, custom motorcycle components like shift levers and linkages. It also allows manufacturers to use available possibilities to expand their creativity. At the same time, you can reduce cycle times and manufacturing costs with 3D-printed motorcycle parts.
Motorcycle 3D Printing Process
The 3D printing process begins with creating a 3D model for the intended motorcycle part. The slicing process follows, converting the 3D model into machine sequences. Material choice is another important of making motorcycle 3d printed parts. 3D printing allows you to produce some prototypes using relatively inexpensive materials.
Consequently, you can use the initial prototypes to ensure they perfectly fit your motorcycle. If the 3D printed motorcycle parts do not fit in, you have the chance to adjust your 3D model. In many cases, you can use different materials for different motorcycle parts.
Furthermore, 3D printing for motorcycle parts supports surface finishing. Machinists can trim the parts to remove any stray structures attached during printing. Other techniques can also be used to smoothen the part surface. As a result, the surface is suitable for paint application and retention.
Your 3D printed motorcycle is ready for coupling and testing after the finishing stage. Several companies now use different types of 3D printing techniques in making motorcycle parts and making motorcycles from scratch. Moreover, 3D printing is the way to go, enabling the high customization levels that come with motorcycle development.
What Are the Common 3D Printing Motorcycle Parts?
Making motorcycle parts with 3D printer is highly plausible. 3D printing a motorcycle from the ground up is also gaining popularity in the manufacturing industry.
Some of the common motorcycle 3D printed parts include the following:
Small Bore Motorcycle Parts
PLA filaments help in the manufacturing of small-bore motorcycle prototypes. Consequently, you can have material savings of up to 90%. These parts are also usually accurate to CAD drawings. Examples of such components include castings and forgings, fasteners, gears, pull locks, etc.
Quick Replacement Parts
These include parts that require frequent changing to maintain the bike’s performance. Examples are brake pads, driveshafts, bike chains, motorbike saddle, handlebar, pedal, etc.
Motorcycle Engine Model and Accessories
This manufacturing technology also helps to create motorcycle engine 3D model and other accessories. These include assembly crankcase, camshaft, valve, piston ring, water tank fan, exhaust, and more.
Control System Parts
The 3D printed motorcycle parts under this category include the gearbox, wheel bearings, handlebar, pull lock, steering column, and other related parts.
3D Printed Motorcycle Helmet
Besides the actual body parts of the motorcycle, 3D printing also help create a helmet for your bike. So, you have everything you need in one go.
Professionally designed 3D printed motorcycle helmets will ensure proven safety for wearers. Manufacturers often test these helmets for effectiveness in terms of shell deflection and shock absorption.
3D printing helps to create well-designed helmets that ensure objects bounce off at safe angles. Furthermore, 3D printing ensures proper shock absorption if the impact is heavy. Manufacturers use patented impact protection systems so that the outer shell can absorb enough shock. This way, the inner layer of the helmet rotates to deflect the remainder of the impact.
Benefits of 3D Printing for Motorcycle Parts
3D printing is a fantastic manufacturing process, but why is it an excellent option for motorcycle parts? Additive manufacturing allows manufacturers to speed up their creative process from the design stage to eventual manufacturing. In addition, it enables faster iterations and design refinements. The usual design limitations that come with traditional manufacturing processes are easily overcome.
Let’s look at some advantages of 3D printing for crafting your motorcycle parts.
This is perhaps the most impressive benefit of using 3D printing technology in motorcycle part development. It can significantly reduce the cost of prototyping. In several cases, 3D printed motorcycle parts come at a fraction of the usual cost from other manufacturing processes. This way, you can pursue your motorcycle development with limited budget.
Ordinarily, it would table between 2 to 3 weeks to manufacture a complex motorcycle part like the suspension or frame. However, 3D printing greatly speeds up the development process. Making motorcycle parts with 3d printer will take only about 5 to 8 hours, regardless of the complexity. This means that you can increase your production volume with this technique.
Furthermore, you can make rapid changes during the development stage. You may find the need to tweak designs to meet unique requirements. The traditional manufacturing process would take too much time. However, 3D printing can speed up your motorcycle part development while allowing you to make multiple changes within a short time.
Unlimited Customization Concept
Creating complicated shapes with CNC millers and laser cutting machines can be challenging. There is usually the need to be careful with edges to prevent errors during production. Therefore, most motorcycle parts made with these processes have similar features.
However, motorcycle 3D printed parts often come with unique concepts. Additive manufacturing gives designers the freedom of creativity. You can incorporate sharp edges into your design. In addition, you can also test ideas before mass production. This empowers you to personalize your motorbike parts at minimal costs.
Efficiency and Accuracy
3D printing technology is an effective process for creating complex bike parts. Handcrafted motorcycle parts may not be compatible with the bike. This creates additional workloads on the part of the manufacturer. However, 3D printers often ensure up to 99% of the design to save you from the stress of back-and-forth changes.
Many motorcycle parts manufacturers currently use CNC milling and laser cutting for mass production. These processes require machinists to carve out patterns from a block of material. As a result, excess material waste comes from the carved pattern, often not useful for other parts.
On the other hand, 3D printing uses filaments as your project requires. Thus, you can reduce waste created to the barest minimum. Furthermore, ABS material and PLA filaments are usually less expensive than block materials used in subtractive manufacturing.
Challenges of Using 3D Printing for Motorcycle Parts
While there are several benefits of 3D printing for motorcycle parts, this technology comes with some challenges, primarily when used for large-scale motorcycle parts. These hiccups include:
- Equipment cost
- Software development expertise and capabilities
- The difference in production techniques between materials and models
- Post-processing needs
RapidDirect’s 3D Printing Services for Custom Motorcycle Parts and Prototypes
3D printing applications in the automotive industry are now becoming more popular. The use of additive technologies now helps to reduce costs and production time. RapidDirect helps you make sense of 3D implementation in motorcycle part production. Our specialists now give life to your motorcycle ideas, creating custom 3D printed motorcycle parts and components.
The nature of our work allows us to emphasize low-volume parts production especially. Therefore, we are able to prepare parts according to your requirements. Asides from creating low-volume motorbike prototypes, we also help modify your motorcycle to give it a unique character. This creative freedom gives you a personalization advantage.
A great benefit of choosing us is that we can help you save manufacturing costs and reduce lead times with our top-notch 3D printing services. At RapidDirect, we used high-quality 3D printers from the design stage to production. You can also tweak your designs and ensure that you have the best end results. Upload your CAD files today, and let’s make your 3D printed motorcycle design come true!
Steel and aluminum are the best and the most common materials used for motorcycle parts. These materials have excellent strength-to-weight ratios, making them suitable for this application. Moreover, it is easy to form them into various shapes. However, recent developments have made PLA and ABS filaments useful for 3D printed motorcycle parts.
At the moment, it is only possible to create a motorcycle engine 3D model. Only a few components of the engine can actually be 3D printed. However, the use of electric motors in recently developed bikes makes 3D printable polymers more suitable for several motorcycle engines.
The additive manufacturing technology is now advanced, enabling the manufacture of several bike parts. These components include small bore motorcycle parts, handlebars, gearboxes, motorbike saddles, wheel bearings, a 3D printed motorcycle helmet, and more.