In case you missed it, last year saw a great number of technological innovations with 3D Printing heavy on everyone’s lips. None more so than Airbus and APWorks’ Light Rider. They claimed in early 2016 that they were working on the world’s first 3D Printed motorcycle. Using their 3D printing expertise, they’ve recently produced the first prototype 3D Printed electric motorcycle and it looks fantastic.

Upon first glance though, it looks like a mountain bike from Mars but without pedals, officially makes this a motorcycle. It’s believed that the company is only producing 50 units and with a price tag of $56 000 (£43 316), owners will be part of an exclusive club.

3D Printing The Light Rider

APWorks describes it as a bicycle-like all-electric machine made from an intricate web of aluminium. In fact, they call it “Scalmalloy” which is an Airbus Group second-generation aluminiummagnesium-scandium alloy or AIMgSc. This aircraft grade, corrosion resistant alloy is said to be stronger than titanium and unrivaled in 3D printing. It was developed for high and very high-strength extrusions.

3D printing has truly revolutionised the design and manufacturing process in terms of structure, aesthetics and particularly weight. In fact, APWorks used a bionic algorithm to develop the structure of the Light Rider making it extremely lightweight and at the same time, strong enough to handle everyday driving stresses.

Each part of the frame is just 60 microns thick and made using a selective 3D laser printing system that melts the aluminium particles together. Some of the parts were made hollow which leaves room for cables and screw-on parts. This resulted in a massive 30% weight reduction compared to motorcycles made from conventional methods.

Features and Specifications

As a prototype, the Light Rider certainly is a leader in its class but could benefit from further development in terms of range. It has a maximum range of only 60 km (37 miles) but still a great way to travel short distances and ideal for intercity commute.

Power to weight ratio is rather impressive. The frame only weighs 35kg (77 lbs) and carries a 6kW electric motor producing 130 Nm of torque. Top speed is not a world record but 80km/h (45 mph) with 0-45km/h in 3 seconds is still good considering the design.

The Light Rider is silent, emission-free and powerful for its size and weight. It’s perfectly suited to keep up with traffic in and around the city. According to reports you still need a motorcycle license and insurance to enjoy this futuristic ride. If you have a passion for technology, motorcycles and innovation, this is a no-brainer. You can also visit the home of Light Rider for more info.

PRV Engineering specialises in a range of industries including automotive, aerospace, defense, rail and construction. Please post a comment below or contact us via the website to share your 3D printing stories or ideas. You can also find us on TwitterFacebookYou TubeGoogle+ or LinkedIn.

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