One of my very dear friends is a complete motorcycle enthusiast; I think he has two in his garage at the moment. He lives in a state that doesn’t have the kind of cold, snowy winter that I am currently suffering through in Ohio, so he probably gets to hit the open road a lot. We are very different in this sense: I have been on a motorcycle a sum total of twice in my life, and while I wasn’t exactly a fan (I prefer the total encasement my Nissan offers), I can definitely see the appeal of not being closed in by a roof and doors, and feeling the wind on your face as you zoom around curves and down straightaways. We’ve seen some 3D printed motorcycles before, like the Divergent 3D streetfighter Dagger, and some that feature 3D printed parts, like the electric KillaJoule motorcycle. Brett Turnage, the 3D printing and racing fanatic who memorably created and 3D printed a replica of the 1993 McLaren MP4/8 in remembrance of Formula One racer Ayrton Senna, just announced his most recent Pinshape project.
Turnage, who also founded BTI3Dlabs, has unveiled his two 3D printed fully functional RC motorcycles, along with a 3D printed moving rider. The models and assembly instructions for the motorcycles are free and available for download on his Pinshape page. His 3D printed motorcycles are the 2016 Ducati Draxter Concept Drag Bike RC, and the 2016 Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP RC motorcycle. BTI3Dlabs (Brett Turnage Industries) specializes in “top quality composites for the street and professional racing industry.”
“I think this project as well as my past projects are glimpses of what 3D printing can bring to certain areas,” Turnage told 3DPrint.com. “Audi R18 was covered in a lot of RC car magazines and I think this one will be the same because with 3D printing, you can have a super realistic body that is impossible to have with current RC car lexan bodies. I think in a few years, there will be a class for 3D printing vehicles in RC car racing. I think the merging of 3D printing an RC cars is here to stay.”
After Turnage released his McLaren replica in celebration of Senna’s life, a month later he dedicated an RS-LM 2014 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro design to Muhammad Ali. His newest project was dubbed Project Jibril, for his Boston Firefighter Cadet friend, Jibril Antar, who loves motorcycles and recently purchased a Suzuki GSX R. According to Turnage’s Pinshape page, “RC motorcycles are almost like black magic,” because they use either active or passive gyroscopes to balance themselves on two wheels.
He explained, “This project remakes that magic for the 3d world with two 2016 bikes that were designed not as chassis, but as the individual motorcycles with unique parts that aim to recreate the realism of the actual bike.”
He has plenty of experience creating RC cars, but 3D modeling and printing motorcycles was a different beast altogether. Turnage had to figure out how to get each bike to balance on two wheels, and he also had a lot less space in the model to fit all of the electronics; if that weren’t enough, he also wanted to create a moving rider.
Both bikes feature a 3D printed functional front fork, a drivetrain that translates gear power to a belt drive system, and adjustable rear suspension. They also each have the option to run either TPU 3D printed rear tires, or rubber F1 RC tires. They utilize passive gyroscopes, instead of electronic ones, to stay upright, which means that while the bike spins, a weighted front wheel keeps it vertical. He also realized while working on this project that a chassis for a car is a lot different than one for a motorcycle.
“I originally planned on having a common chassis that the body parts can attach to,” said Turnage. “That all changed when I realized that the RC motorcycles could not have a separate chassis. Instead, it was best if the body was the chassis.”
Turnage began modeling the project, using Fusion 360, in June 2016 and it took him over five months, with multiple iterations and bikes, to come up with the final 3D printed versions, not counting the months of testing before they were announced.
While the motorcycles are impressive in their own right, what I find really neat about this project is The Rider, who drives the motorcycles. Turnage used a tiny ultra micro servo, located in the head of the realistic-looking Rider, that attached to a metal rod, or backbone, that turns the pelvis, which shifts the legs and head in opposite directions. The Rider can also steer the bike! The main servo is attached to the lower left arm, and causes it move forwards and backwards, which turns the handlebars, essentially steering the motorcycle.
Turnage has created a 60-page manual that breaks down all of his process steps, in case you want to 3D print the motorcycles yourself. The BOM, model files, and assembly guide for both of the motorcycles are available, for free download, on his Pinshape page.
Turnage said, “For me a 3D printer is a tool, and to fully utilize it you need to learn how to design. I really hope that I can inspire people to turn their 3D printers from a hobby to a powerful tool.”
Discuss in the 3D Printed RC Motorcycles forum at 3DPB.com.