TE Connectivity, a company known for its work on 3D printing, unveiled a fully functional, 3D-printed motorcycle at the Rapid 2015 3D Printing fair in Long Beach, California. While it isn’t the first 3D-printed motorcycle to be featured on these pages, the fact that it can actually function and not serve as a mere showpiece could be a major breakthrough in the advancement of the technology as it pertains to whatever future role 3D printing might have in the motorcycle industry.
The fundamental parts of the TE Connectivity’s Harley-Davidson Softail-inspired, 3D-printed motorcycle is made up entirely of plastic, printed in a computer and made up of far too many components than even its designers can remember. Complicated as the process appears to be, TE Connectivity was still able to create a frame that can support 400 lbs, or as many as two passengers.
It’s a remarkable creation, but one not entirely devoid of the usual elements and trinkets motorcycles need to run properly. To be clear, the 3D-printed bike also features many of the amenities any motorcycle would need to work. It has a small electric motor, functional rubber tires, and plenty of other outsourced materials like electrical wiring, mirrors, a braking system, an electrical wing, and a battery.
The electric motor and the battery, in particular, provide the crucial difference of this 3D-printed bike from all of its contemporaries. It’s not much, but that electric motor that reportedly can generate 1 horsepower should be more than enough reason for a lot of people to think of the enormous gains 3D printing has achieved in recent years.
As far as progress goes, a fully functional, 3D-printed motorcycle is a huge advancement in the motorcycle industry. How it progresses moving forward may still be a matter of debate, but as far as once believing it to be impossible, well, that apparently isn’t the case anymore.
Continue reading to read more about TE Connectivity’s 3D-printed motorcycle.
TE Connectivity Unveils Functional 3D-Printed Motorcycle originally appeared on topspeed.com on Monday, 1 June 2015 15:00 EST.