Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
In January 2019, multinational automobile and motorcycle manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) of Munich, Germany unveiled the new BMW Individual M850i Night Sky, which has material from meteorites incorporated into the cabin. The centre console’s trim plate, start/stop button, selector lever and “touch controller” for the so-called “iDrive system” are all decorated with meteoric rock. Furthermore, inlays made from the material are incorporated into the door sill finishers, as well as an illuminated model badge.
The so-called “Widmanstätten” structure of the meteoric rock’s nickel-iron alloy crystals forms from the alloy cooling in an extremely slow process that would be impractically difficult to scientifically replicate on Earth. The design of many parts of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky takes inspiration from the Widmanstätten structure, including the hand-stitched headliner and the centre console’s trim finishers. The Widmanstätten structure has also been milled into the brake discs and woven into other 3D printed parts, including the exterior mirror caps, the front splitters for the side air intakes at the front of the car, the centre mesh plate and the surrounds for the air breathers on the front side panels.
The “bionic-design” brakes are also 3D printed. While designing the car’s brake calipers, BMW was able to make them as light as possible while still satisfying the car’s technical requirements, ergo only the material needed for the brakes to work was used. The resulting structure imitates that of bones, achieving a balance between the part’s rigidity and mass; this can only be done via additive manufacturing. This also enabled BMW to integrate the brake fluid channels into the design of the brake calipers.
The interior leather trim comes in a tri-colour design with LED-illuminated star constellations on the centre console for extra astronomical effect. The Widmanstätten structure is also repeated in the stitching pattern for the seat centre sections.
BMW introduced the car to coincide with the Quadrantid meteor shower.
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Disclaimer: Featured image of “A Brouhot car in Paris, 1910” 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 100 years of less.