From the wind in the sails carrying a boat over the finish line to the rev of the engine on the track as a motorcycle takes a splendid first, one might wonder exactly how it is that Renishaw becomes involved in consecutive projects surrounded by the excitement of competition and the world of sports. One, they apparently know what they are doing above and beyond their own industry competition, and two—those engaged in high-intensity sports have one thing on their mind: winning. Only the best will do, and Renishaw takes pride in contributing to greatness with their 3D printed components whether their clients are sailing the America’s Cup or revved up to win a Moto2 championship—and keep the success and momentum going from there.
While the French Moto2 team, the TransFIORmers, was thrilled to have won their initial race at the CEV Repsol European Championship in Barcelona, certainly both the teams from I3D Concept and Renishaw were pretty heavy on the applause that day as well.
The French Moto2 team was inspired by Claude Fior when looking toward creating a unique front suspension system. Although he died in a plane crash at the young age of 46, Fior contributed greatly to the world of chassis for racing bikes. The TransFIORmers began working with I3D Concept regarding design and construction, explaining exactly what they wanted. Modeling their suspension system after Fior’s, the idea was to bypass normal weight transfer, as well as brake dive—an issue caused when the front of any vehicle dips down as the brakes are pressed—usually very hard.
To achieve their goal, I3D presented their clients with a 3D printed titanium wishbone design from Renishaw, made via their AM250 manufacturing system and offering the benefit of both superior part consolidation and lighter weight—saving up to 600 grams from what would have been offered with a normal welded steel component.
“Additive manufacturing allowed the TransFIORmers team to produce a precisely manufactured component in a highly competitive environment,” explained Christophe Tisserand, Additive Manufacturing Product Manager, Renishaw.
Referring to the boundary pushing they performed in this project as ‘defiant innovation,’ the Renishaw team realized they were getting involved in another very special project—as Moto2 bikes, known as the second in the three MotoGP classes, are special in every way. They are off limits to the public and public roads are off limits to those riding them. Quite simply, they are meant to blow away the competition, and are not street legal.
The sport was created in 2010, and as the TransFIORmers enter the spotlight, their goal is to use a unique suspension to keep winning, hoping for continued victory as they are led by former 250cc World Championship rider Christian Boudinot.
“Instead of the more traditional telescopic front fork suspension, the TransFIORmers motorcycle employs a rigid front fork suspension system separated from the chassis using two wishbones,” says Renishaw on their website.
“Using Renishaw’s AM250 additive manufacturing system, I3D Concept worked in partnership with the TransFIORmers team to optimise the design of its upper wishbone component, one of two attaching the front fork to the chassis and critical to the bike’s steering.”
As in many cases when dealing with sports and sport, as lightweight a design as possible is crucial, along with lowering the ‘unsprung mass’ as much as possible as this prevents vibration and allows for better performance in both braking and acceleration.
“To improve overall motorcycle performance, reducing the weight of all components located behind the shock absorbers is absolutely vital. Failure to optimize component weights can have an adverse effect on vibration, braking and acceleration, so weight reduction is a really high priority,” Jérôme Aldeguer, Mechanical Engineer, TransFIORmers, explained.
“The weight reduction that metal 3D printing has achieved for us in our wishbone component has enabled us to bypass traditional weight transfer phenomenon and the problems associated with ‘brake dive’. More than that, it’s allowed us to design a part that is not only lighter, but far more rigid at the same time,” he noted.
Originally made in steel with twelve machined and welded parts, 3D printing transformed and streamlined the new design for the Moto2 team. Using the Renishaw system, I3D was able to make the part in just one piece, beginning with stainless steel, but settling on the use of titanium in the end, especially because it is lighter in weight.
According to Renishaw, with 3D printing or additive manufacturing, the titanium alloy is able to achieve both tensile strength in excess of 1100 MPa and almost perfect densities of 99.7%. Using Ti6AI4V, the TransFIORmers team was able to achieve their goals in finding greater rigidity, as well as employing nearly every benefit of 3D printing, from customization and speed to shorter modification, manufacturing, and assembly times. And the TransFIORmers consider themselves to be first in their sport to employ 3D printing in such a way. Keep an eye out for this team as they should own the track in their next race—with ‘an entirely French product.’ Discuss in the 3D Printed Titanium Wishbone forum over at 3DPB.com.
[Sources: Engineer Live; Renishaw / Images/Video: Renishaw]