In November 2018, BigRep’s Nowlab of Berlin did what no one else had ever done before and made an electric motorcycle that, outside of its electrical components, was entirely 3D printed, including its airless tyres. It was designed specifically for 3D printing by fused deposition modelling. The Nera motorcycle, which measures 190x90x55cm (74.8×35.4x 21.6 in), was 3D printed by BigRep’s large-scale 3D printers using ProHT, ProFLEX, PETH and PLA filaments through a 0.6–1 mm nozzle at a layer height of 0.4–0.6 mm.

It was designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori and Maximilian Sedlak, made from 15 separate 3D printed pieces and is powered by an electric engine embedded in the rim of its back wheel. The battery is housed within the body of the motorcycle. Flexible bumpers replace the traditional suspension found in other motorcycles. However, the Near is only a design study, ergo it will not be on seen on the road for the foreseeable future.

3D printed automotive components can be made more quickly, more lightweight, and often in fewer pieces than traditional manufacturing methods are capable of. Lighter weight means better fuel efficiency, but the Nera does more for the environment by combining 3D printing with an electric motor. Nowlab’s other creations include a recyclable and biodegradable table circa July 2015 and a wall of “smart concrete” circa June 2018.

Disclaimer: The author of the featured image of “Butler’s Patent Velocycle” died in 1940, ergo the featured image is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 75 years or less.


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