This is not the first time that BMW has been in the news for its solid relationship with additive manufacturing technology. Several months ago, they used the technology to build thumb supports for their workers to ease repetitive motion stress on their joints created during their work in assembling and finishing BMW cars. The type of stress that is relieved in this latest project involving 3D printing isn’t so much for the workers of BMW but for anybody who is interested in taking a fast ride on a super slick BMW R nine T motorcycle… or who just needs some way to get $100,000 off their hands.
The BMW R nine T was created to commemorate the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad and was created specifically with the intention that it would be customized. The core of the design references the historical model of the R32, known as the “café racer,” which was the first model to be produced. Ricardo Medrano, owner of Johnnie Wash, recognized a market for this type of customizable bike for his Brazilian clients. It is a time of significant expansion in the area of customization in Brazil, especially among the elite as they look for new ways to project their identities and to outdo each other in the acquisition of luxury goods. This fascination with customization, combined with the intention of the bike’s producer for just such attention, lent itself naturally to treatment via 3D printing.
The spectacular bike was revealed in a video posted on Vimeo (click here to watch the original interview in Portuguese) complete with beautiful models in tight clothing at a Eurobike show in Brazil. The bike’s customized presentation was created using 3D printing technologies and the custom parts were printed in a three-day time period. An interviewer from Momento Moto, a program on the Brazilian network Bandsports, interviewed Medrano, asking about the most difficult part of working with an innovative project such as this:
“The most difficult part was working with new technologies and new materials. It was intense work for three days, learning to master the process itself. That was definitely the most complicated part.”
The design process began with simplified designs for each part and then moved on to the creation of the more complex 3D models in Solidworks that would be required in order to print the parts. To ensure a perfect fit between the bike and the customized parts, each piece of the bike was scanned using a 3D G-scanner. When the parts were ready for print, they were sent to a Fortus 900mc for production. After being printed layer by layer in plastic, they were finished and made ready for painting.
The original model with which Medrano began to work was modified by a shortening of the subframe, the addition of a sports air filter, handlebars that were pulled 1 ¼” back, a reduction in the mirrors and, of course, a fancy paint job. Top this off with a red leather seat and an engine that added 14 horsepower more plus a power chip and you’ve got a motorcycle that retails in the neighborhood of US$86,000.
Medrano wasn’t ready to stop there, however. He went on to create an even more sophisticated model incorporating all of the innovations in his first upgrade but that somehow managed to pack even more ‘sport’ into the already powerful creation. The tail has been redesigned to reduce friction and the handlebars are lowered. Further modifications include:
- Exhaust with true-duo sports springs attachment
- Back floating optical assembly
- Revamped air intake system with independent sports filters for each cylinder
- Relocation of the battery compartment and control modules under the tank
- A new engine system with chip power designed to generate 18 more horespower
This ultra-sophisticated creation carries with it a price tag of slightly over $100,000 and retains the ability to be returned to its original state. This also means that anytime the owner wants to invest in a new look, they don’t have to get a completely new bike. With the mastery now of 3D printing techniques, Medrano could conceivably create custom skins for bikes as often as his clients wanted.
In Brazil, the bikes are being sold through Eurobike. The General Manager of the Motorcycle Division at Eurobike, Andre Accioly, boasts that they are the first dealership in the country to undertake this type of customization and that they will continue to remain on the cutting edge of technology in order to deliver the newest possibilities to their customers.
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