This week the multinational automotive BMW Group invested €10 million (about $12.3 million) in a new additive manufacturing campus in Germany. In the teaser of this new feature, discerning viewers will get to see the 3D printed chassis of the BMW sports bike.
Designed for the award-winning BMW S1000RR motorcycle, the 3D printed chassis is a showcase of the possibilities that come from the company’s evolving additive hub.
Record breaking bike
The BMW S1000RR motorcycle was initially built for the 2009 Superbike World Championship and has since been raced by many World Championships, MotoGP and Isle of Man TT riders.
In 2014, Michael Dunlop made TT history riding the S1000RR for BSB Team Hawk Racing, scoring 4 victories. Peter Hickman also won the Macau Grand Prix with the bike in 2015 and 2016.
The bike entered commercial production in 2010, and has gone through various iterations over the years to improve its performance.
Running in the air
As of 2016, the S1000RR production model has a wet weight (including fuel, lubricant, battery) of 207.7 kg. By comparison, the race model weighs just 162 kg. With 3D printing, BMW can reduce the weight of the S1000RR even further, reduce the weight of heavy components, and optimize the design for the ride.
The 3D printed S1000RR was showcased to the visitors at BMW’s Digital Day in Mallorca.
The frame and swingarm have been 3D printed in the concept model. The method used is a powder-based selective laser melting technology. Topology optimization and possibly generative design have been used to create the “organic” look of the bike. Strength is managed with key supporting points on the frame.
Futuristic motorcycle and sports car
BMW’s Additive Manufacturing Campus is located close to the company’s Research and Innovation Center in Munich. According to BMW, the facility develops and manufactures more than 100,000 precision components each year, including discontinued car parts, plastic mountings and “highly complex chassis parts made of metal.”
Small quantities of tailor-made or complex components are the main additive manufacturing output of the facility. The Research and Innovation Center is also behind the metal 3D printed fixtures for the in-production i8 Roadster.
The Airbus APWorks Light Rider is probably one of the most famous examples of 3D printing in motorcycles. Independent motorbike manufacturers, such as Barcelona’s Bourne Motor Company, are also eagerly adapting the technology to bespoke production needs.
Clearly invested in the technology, it will be interesting to see how BMW leverages additive manufacturing in the future.
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