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Engineering Materials

3D-Printed Working Motorcycle Demonstrates What the Tech Can Do

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William K.
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
William K.   5/29/2015 7:54:00 PM
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I agre, Ann.  But until I read the whole article it didn't seem reasonable. Then, understanding just what and why, it makes a lot more sense. There is indeed a whole lot can be done and we will be seeing new applications and new processes for quite a while. I can imagine that some new connector designs can be very different as this technology advances a bit.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2015 1:40:47 PM
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Tom, thanks for the link to the Computerworld article. Like engineers, reporters don't ask all the same questions so there's some different information there. I was surprised to find that very few other reporters covered this achievement.

ttemple
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
ttemple   5/28/2015 1:18:30 PM
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www . computerworld.com/article/2925073/3d-printing/how-3d-printers-made-a-motorcycle-skis-and-snowboard.html

This is worth reading for more details.  Some of the 3d printed parts are made of bronze.  There is a herringbone gear in the drive hub that was printed in place, and it could not be assembled otherwise.  Interesting.

Motor is 1hp, not 1kw, as I stated before.  (750w)

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2015 12:52:18 PM
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Some of these comments surprise me, since we state clearly in the article why TE Connectivity designed and built this project. It's a demonstrator  "to show TE Connectivity's engineers what the technology can really do in making working load-bearing production parts, and free up their thinking when approaching design problems." Later, we elaborate a bit: those design problems are about load-bearing components, which must also have load-bearing connection systems. And the materials follow suit. Ultem 9085 is pretty amazing stuff: it's used in aerospace, among other places. As we state, the kickstand and brake system weren't 3D printed due to safety reasons, which should be obvious. The block, BTW, is there so when show-goers want to sit on it for a photo, it's unlikely to over and cause, that's right, safety issues.
3D printing is here, load-bearing materials are being used, sometimes 3D printing is way cheaper than CNC, and the working motorcycle is real.

Oppenheimer
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
Oppenheimer   5/28/2015 12:12:14 PM
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The way I see it, they were going for, 'Wow, you can do stuff like that with 3D printing? If it can do that, then I guess I don't need to worry about the durability of your 3D printed connector.' And also 'hmmm, as an engineer, maybe I should I consider 3D printing for this connector, since its way more durable than I previously imagined, now that I've ridden the 3D printed motorcycle my compnay built.'

If that was the goal, then I think its Mission Accomplished.

fm
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
fm   5/28/2015 11:26:51 AM
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What you say about the 2x4, agreed. Maybe they found something to hold it upright just for the photo(s).

I didn't really say it clearly before, but this is a great demo of 3D printing. It shows nice design, detail, and finish workmanship. I agree, the wheel bearings are an unexpected plus!

My point is that they said they weren't just trying to demo 3D printing in general; they said they're trying to show durability. I'm not expecting a Harley from a connector company, just something that answers the mail on what they were trying to achieve. Plastic wheel bearings that can do the job, yes, that answers the mail. And they can do metal fab as well, so the brakes and kickstand don't have to be made from ABS! Do they not trust their metal fab to build parts that can stand up to mechanical stresses - like what a kickstand or a brake cylinder or a circular-MIL connector might experience? I guess maybe i overreached in calling it a fail, but i think it does fall short.

Oppenheimer
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Silver
Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
Oppenheimer   5/28/2015 10:32:10 AM
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I expect the wood block is there to hold the bike upright for the photo, not to support the guys weight. The kickstand would have the bike leaned over, and its difficult to sit on a bike on its kickstand (plus it wouldn't look right for the photo).

 

Some things wouldn't make sense to make out of plastic. The tires weren't mentioned in the article, but clearly they are traditional rubber MC tires. The brake stuff, well you can't use plastic for any of the hydraulics, as they could not stand the pressure, nor would they be flexible enough for the lines. The rotors could not absorb the heat. Its not a question of 'durability'.

 

The kickstand is another example. To be strong enough, it would need to so much larger, it would be impractical Again, its not a question of durability, but of design.

 

I think they met their goals, and then some. Who said they had to make every single part out of 3D printing? They made most of it, even things you wouldn't have expected (wheel bearings, etc).

 

Could they have made more parts from additive manufacturing? Probably. But again, this company doesn't even make motorcycles, so what benefit would it be to take a whole lot longer, and spend a whole lot more money, and maybe never finish, just to make a couple more parts out of plastic?

 

If their efforts convinced 90% of us they met their goals, I assert that the extra effort to convince, say, 95% of us, which probably would have more than doubled the effort, would not have been worth it.

ttemple
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Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
ttemple   5/28/2015 10:10:14 AM
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Found another article that says the motorcycle runs for 20 minutes, goes 15mph, and actually works.

Perhaps the block is balancing the motorcycle, not supporting the weight.  They claim it holds 2 riders, up to 400 lbs, goes 15mph (motor is only 1kw, which they say "strains" to do it).

fm
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Platinum
Re: Another Demonstration of 3-D Printing
fm   5/28/2015 9:25:02 AM
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I don't want to come across as shooting holes in what they've done, because this is a fairly impressive set of work. But at least for me, this doesn't hit the mark of what they said they were trying to show. They said they wanted to demonstrate the company's capability "in making working load-bearing production parts." At least for me, they missed this goal:

1) The "motorcycle" is plastic. I'm guessing if you tried to go faster than 15 mph on anything other than a glassy-smooth surface, it would break underneath you.

2) Note the support under the bike that holds up the guy's weight. Maybe this assembly isn't as "load-bearing" as they intended?

3) The kickstand wasn't 3D printed "for safety reasons?" Huh? If you're trying to convince me that your 3D printed parts can stand up to the real world, you better be able to make a durable kickstand for a plastic bike!

4) Brake system: same story. If you're trying to convince me that your 3D printing is durable, print the brake cylinder. And lines. And calipers. Safety? I'm thinking that if the brakes failed, laying a plastic bike down at 10 mph might not be much of a hazard. Especially if you're only driving it across the floor of the exhibit hall.

I'm guessing that this is a great example of somebody who had an honestly great idea ("Let's 3D print a whole motorcycle!"), and then some bureaucrat middle manager got nervous about how much it would cost. On their orders, the project was then scaled back to this. So the end result is that they spent half as much as they would have to do an honest job of it, and wasted every dime that they *did* spend because this doesn't convince me.

gerdschwaderer
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Iron
3D Printed Motorcycle
gerdschwaderer   5/28/2015 9:13:37 AM
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If one had taken advantage of the terrific options on optimized and organic designs that are possible to be manufactured with a 3D printer it would be another step better... . But one can see clearly where the journey goes!

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