Airbus’s APWorks Presents 3D-Printed Electric Motorcycle Light Rider – video

JUN 7 2016 BY MARK KANE 17

APWorks "Light Rider"

APWorks “Light Rider”

APWorks, a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Group, unveiled a special electric motorcycle called “Light Rider“.

Its frame is 3D-printed, using a selective 3D laser printing system that melts millions of aluminum alloy particles together – and consists of thousands of thin layers just 60 microns thick.

The result is a frame that weighs just 6 kg and the whole bike weight comes in at just 35 kg (77 lbs).

“From home décor to medical prosthetics, robotic parts to aircraft interiors, 3D printing is the future of manufacturing. APWorks, a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Group, has worked at the forefront of additive layer manufacturing (ALM) and advanced materials since its launch in 2013. APWorks produces bionically optimized metal parts for a wide range of industries, from aerospace to automotive and robotics. Its newest creation? The world’s first 3D-printed motorcycle, made using APWorks’ Scalmalloy® material, weighing in at a svelte 35 kg.”

APWorks states that a 6 kW motor takes it from 0 to 80 km/h in just “seconds” (0-45 km/h in 3 seconds). There is no details about the “exchangeable battery” noted, besides having a range of 60 km per swap.

The company intends to produce 50 Light Riders, but the price (excluding taxes) will be €50,000 ($56,000 USD) and a €2,000 deposit is required.  So it won’t come cheap.

APWorks "Light Rider"

APWorks “Light Rider”

APWorks "Light Rider"

APWorks “Light Rider”

“3D-printing technologies have revolutionized the design and manufacturing process – not only in terms of structure and aesthetics, but also in impressive weight savings on parts and equipment when compared to those made using conventional manufacturing techniques. APWorks used an algorithm to develop the Light Rider’s optimized structure to keep weight at a minimum while ensuring the motorcycle’s frame was strong enough to handle the weight loads and stresses of everyday driving scenarios. The result: a motorcycle that looks more like an organic exoskeleton than a machine. That was a very deliberate design goal for APWorks, which programmed the algorithm to use bionic structures and natural growth processes and patterns as the basis for developing a strong but lightweight structure.

The Light Rider’s design echoes the form of a conventional motorcycle – but looks like a distant relative of today’s motorbikes. “The complex and branched hollow structure couldn’t have been produced using conventional production technologies such as milling or welding,” said Joachim Zettler, CEO of Airbus APWorks GmbH. “Advances in additive layer manufacturing have allowed us to realize the bionic design we envisioned for the motorcycle without having to make any major changes. With these technologies, the limitations facing conventional manufacturing disappear,” he added.

Each 3D-printed part of the Light Rider’s frame – produced using a selective 3D laser printing system that melts millions of aluminum alloy particles together – consists of thousands of thin layers just 60 microns thick. Leveraging the benefits of 3D-printing technology, APWorks designed frame parts that were hollow instead of solid, which has allowed for integrated cables, pipes and screw-on points in the finalized motorcycle structure – resulting in a dramatic 30% weight reduction over motorcycles produced using conventional manufacturing techniques.

“We further harnessed the benefits of metallic 3D printing by using our own proprietary material, Scalmalloy®, for the construction of the frame,” said Zettler. Scalmalloy® is a corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy that is virtually as strong as titanium. Specifically developed for ALM-based production, the material combines high strength with an extraordinary level of ductility, making it an especially interesting material to use for highly solicited parts in lightweight robotics, automotive and aerospace applications.”

APWorks "Light Rider"

APWorks “Light Rider”

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17 Comments on "Airbus’s APWorks Presents 3D-Printed Electric Motorcycle Light Rider – video"

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evcarnut

I would think, If one has more “EASY” money Than Brain cells , Then they would or should buy one..

evcarnut

I would think, If one has more “EASY” money Than Brain cells , Then they would or should buy one..Lots Of Better Choices in many ways Ie: Range Power etc: Out There for that amount of money,, no matter how special it may be…

Phil Trubey

All this company has proven is that 3-D printing technology for manufacturing is too expensive to be used for real world products. Good luck selling 10 of these, let alone 50.

gallam

Surely the whole point of this is that it is incredibly cheap to manufacture. Instead of asking a totally unrealistic price, why not release the required files? That would allow the third world, and anyone else for that matter, to print their own frames.

G2

Excepting the price, this looks good.
I agree that 3D printing should have made this waaaaayyy cheaper to produce.

Ken

37 miles to a charge? This is an electric bicycle not a motorcycle. 8 horsepower? High end bicycle for rich guys. A Zero SR has a 67 horsepowe motor and 100 mile range for $15k. They also have motorcycles starting under $8k that way outperform this turd.

Crissa

…You don’t need alot of horsepower when your horse weighs less than a large dog.

Ken

I need alot more than 8 horsepower to drive on the highway with my wife on the back. This is an electric bicycle and im sure its a great one, im just stating its not a motorcycle. It’s even got a mountain bike rox shox front suspension fork on it. Let’s call it what it is, a high end electric mountain bike.

evcarnut

Take The ZER0 SR hands down , or even one their cheaper bikes for less money ! It’s a no brainer.

Crissa

…Which is a much, much larger bike. 188kg.

Ken

This thing weighs 77 lbs, just like my dad’s electric bicycle. So like i said, its a high end electric bicycle. I only have issue with it being called a motorcycle because its obviously a bicycle. Look at those skinnu tires!

Phil Trubey

Why do people think that 3D printing is a cheap way to manufacture things? It isn’t. At all. Cast frames are by far cheaper to produce.

Please InsideEV, report on real electrical advances, not press release garbage like this.

Cerio

Real advances in the field of electric mobility are sparse. This is how how they fill up space and waiting time. (And with numbers on how often which car has been bought when and in where. And with drag races. And with speculations on the future.) 😉

Filip Bjurling

I’d buy it… if it cost 2000usd

wavelet

1. It’s an e-bicycle. If you’re widening the scope to include them (which personally I’d favor), there are a lot more interesting models and developments to report on.

2. 3D printing has been used for a while, and there’s nothing novel about it per se; it’s simply not cost effective for large volumes. Specifically, numerous custom bike fairings as well as the Energica Ego’s fairing are made this way.

Vexar

It needs to be able to be pedaled, I think, to qualify as an electric bicycle. Or is that a moped? Weird taxonomy, the two-wheelers. I think all that complexity would kill the drag coefficient. I’m sure it makes a resonant hum at certain speeds from the air through the Geiger-inspired honeycomb pattern. Like everyone else said, so much for 3D printing being cheaper! I sincerely doubt they would release the files, I think that counts as intellectual property, and they clearly put money into it, just not wisely. I’d rather figure out a way to put a motor and battery on a classic Trek Y22 as seen here:
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/download/file.php?id=137305

Did everyone miss that this was a subsidiary of Airbus? Of course it’s expensive! This is likely a proof of concept for the manufacturing process. I recall a pair of brothers who were bicycle tinkerers from North Carolina; they got into the field of aeronautics. Perhaps Airbus is trying to get back to basics? They have definitively proven they have discovered 3D printing will not help them save any operating expenditure in making jet liners.

Bjorn

Pretty sure this is all about proving that they can produce superlight, strong structures for aircraft with 3D printing, and NOT about making a cheap electric motorbicycle..