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First ever functional 3D printed motorbike unveiled

TE Connectivity proud to unveil a world first in the form of a 3D motorcycle
TE Connectivity proud to unveil a world first in the form of a 3D motorcycle
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Monday, 01, Jun 2015 04:47

By Emily Boneham

Ducati speeds into 3D printing after TE Connectivity success at Californian tech fair

A fully-functioning 3D printed Harley-Davidson Softail has been unveiled at a Californian technology fair.

Capable of supporting the equivalent of two adults, the machine features a frame, wheels and bearings all printed in plastic.

Tyres, brakes, a sidestand, mirrors and electrical components including a 1hp electric motor were needed to make the bike functional.

When representatives of the bike's creators, TE Connectivity, spoke to 3DPrint.com they said: "The issue is the capability of the motor. It is only one horsepower and has difficulty with riders over 200 pounds and on hills."

Said to be able to travel at 15mph for several minutes, the concept is not quite ready for the high speeds of the British motorways or hills but the industry is already excited.

Stratasys, whose printers were used to develop TE's plastic bike, is currently in talks with Ducati to advise on the in-house use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) prototyping.

Thanks to printing functional prototype engines, Ducati has been able to slash the development time of a new Desmosedici race engine for MotoGP from 28 months to just eight.

Such leaps in the industry come after the first functional printed car was unveiled and driven just last September.

TE's 113.4kg of plastic was designed on a computer and used FDM technology to create layers upon layers of ABS plastic which printed the major components.

After 1,000 hours of work and $25,000, technology firm TE Connectivity proudly unveiled their masterpiece at Rapid 2015 3D printing fair in Long Beach, California between 18 - 21 May.

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