Meet the world’s first 3D-printed bike
You’ve probably used printers for years, but have you ever printed a whole motorcycle?
Enter the ‘Light Rider’. Constructed using laser printed Additive Layer Manufacturing, 3D printing to you and me, from an advanced aluminium alloy called Scalmalloy, the Light Rider comes in at a mere 35kg – with the frame just 6kg.
The Light Rider looks both space-aged and organic – without the wheels, you’d be forgiven to think it was an artwork. Airbus (who own APWorks) describe it as “a motorcycle that looks more like an organic exoskeleton than a machine” formed of “bionically optimised metal parts”. To create the structure, APWorks developed unique computer algorithms based upon natural growth processes, optimising the strength and providing its exclusive look.
The form is made possible due to the 3D printing process itself, which not only produces significantly less wastage during manufacturing but forms complex computer-generated shapes that conventional manufacturing processes can’t achieve.
While the Light Rider is perhaps more of a demonstration of APWorks’ technology prowess than a serious venture to develop a new range of bikes, there is no doubt that 3D printed manufacturing is establishing itself as the future of automotive technology. The lack of welds and other weaknesses that affect traditional construction techniques leads to stronger, more durable automotive parts.
While it doesn’t look like the Light Rider will be mass-produced anytime soon, 50 will be sold at €50,000 each. You can find out more or pre-order your own at www.lightrider.apworks.de. In the meantime, who knows – one day you might be printing yourself a new bike from your own computer. For now, you will just have to settle with individual parts.