3D Print Me a Bike, While You’re at It
Many companies across all fields of manufacturing are beginning to incorporate 3d printing into their building process. Many shoe companies are 3D printing soles, car parts are being 3D printed, the list goes on. BMW has finally turned to incorporate 3D printed components for their race bikes featured in the World Superbike racing series.
In the world of racing, hundredths a kilogram in weight reduction can mean hundredths of a second off your lap time; and hundredths of a second in racing is a lot longer than one would imagine. BMW aims to shave weight and lap times with new technology being brought to their Superbike development on-track.
With riders constantly giving feedback to the engineers about the bike’s performance on the track, it’s up to the engineers to tune and bring new parts to accommodate the issues that the riders uncover. Having to send designs back to the factory for a critical aero component to be redesigned in the middle of a race-weekend can prove difficult and strenuous. If only there was another option…
How about 3D printing the pieces right in the pitlane? BMW now has a portable 3D printer they can bring with them to the track to bring upgrades to hopefully keep their bike ahead of the pack without the drawbacks of being hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from the factory.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers chimed in on the subject, “This technology allows us to make improvements to the RR quickly and efficiently… Normally, you have finished components that you have developed with calculation, construction and simulation, and which you then evaluate during testing or on race weekends… The risk is always that, as the complete package becomes ever more complex, errors in construction, difficulties with installation or access to the part can be overlooked.”