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 2002, David Sánchez of motorsport engineering company Bottpower of Valencia, Spain started a project to make a high-performance superbike for track racing that would also be road legal, with a 1000cc engine and what Sánchez describes as “high level components.” Collaborating with a “designer” named Hugo van Waaijen, this was named the BOTT 1000 Morlaco. However, due to commitments to more important things, renders of its first proper design wouldn’t be published until February 2013.
Sanchez argues that he turned to 3D printing to make part of the bike as he wanted to build it with as advanced technology as he could. In December 2019, Sánchez spoke of how the bike’s fuel tank was 3D printed with the help of 3D printing specialists Optimus 3D of Álava, also of Spain. What Sánchez referred to as “the outer carcass” of the fuel tank was 3D printed to save on the time and money necessary to make any molds for it. It was ultimately 3D printed in 5 separate pieces that were glued together to save more money.
The concept of 3D printed motorbikes traces at last as far back as May 2015, where technology company TE Connectivity of Schaffhausen, Switzerland unveiled one at the 3D printing conference known only as Rapid. A more recent example happened in late January 2020, where motorcycle manufacturers The Curtiss Motorcycle Company of Leeds, Alabama, and 3D Printing company Fast Radius of Chicago, Illinois unveiled the Zeus 8, a 3D printed electric motorbike that is due to hit the market some time in 2020. However, this would not be the first of its kind, as the Nowlab of 3D printing company BigRep of Berlin unveiled a design study of a motorbike the was entirely 3D printed outside of its electrical components in November 2018, with it being declared a world first at the time. (Nowlab is the so-called “innovation lab and consultancy of BigRep.”)
Bottpower’s most recent (as of April 3rd 2020) blog post on the bike states that similarly to the fuel tank, other parts of the bike were 3D printed in several pieces and glued together, before being sanded and painted as necessary. At the time, the next step was to reinforce the parts’ structures with carbon fibre. The bike is due to be finished in summer 2020. Given that Sánchez started the project 18 years ago, it can only be hoped that the long wait will be worth it.
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Disclaimer: Featured image of “Glenn Curtiss on his V-8 motorcycle, Ormond Beach, Florida 1907” is in public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1st 1925, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal.