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Trends in 3D printing

April Fool!!!

Mobile Parts Production with 3D Printers at BMW Motorrad

Soon it will be possible to repair a motorcycle breakdown even in remote parts of the world, because from this summer BMW Motorrad has the new optional equipment BMW Motorrad iParts and the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D-Mobileprinter in its range, with which even in a desert the necessary spare part can be printed. The market launch will take place in September 2018.

Powerful 3D Printers at the Sales Partners

For the project, initially 250 selected BMW Motorrad sales partners worldwide will be equipped with a permanently installed 3D printing system by 2019. This system with integrated machining center allows the production and subsequent machining of large and complex components such as bevel and ring gears or motor housings. BMW Motorrad takes the entire spare parts supply to a new level. Even spare parts that are rarely needed and therefore not usually available from BMW Motorrad sales partners can be provided in this way “just in time“.

Mobile 3D Printer for Motorcycle Rides

BMW Motorrad customers can print smaller components such as hand brake and clutch levers, foot brake or gear levers, valve cover covers, triple clamps or indicator lenses themselves using the BMW Motorrad iParts 3D mobile printer. And not only at home, but also on the road, because this handy high-tech device can also be conveniently stored in a top case or side case.

Special CFK Topcase for the Printer

To compensate for the additional weight of the mobile printer, a top case made of CFRP with a weight reduction of around 4.5 kg compared to a standard top case was developed. A special layer structure of the CFRP fiber composite ensures noise and vibration damping for optimal and trouble-free mobile use of the printer. In addition, the power supply was integrated into the laminate to avoid external cables.

3d print bmw motorrad iparts close up

Source: BMW

The BMW iCloud Delivers and Transmits the Necessary Print Data

The design data and material specifications required for printing are provided from the BMW iCloud at the customer’s home or on the road. The data is then transferred directly to the 3D printing systems via download from a mobile phone, tablet or PC. However, a functioning Internet connection is required for the download.

iParts Explorer for Remote Areas

If you plan to get off the beaten track on your motorcycle and get to places where an Internet connection is not always available, you can take advantage of the optional BMW Motorrad iParts Explorer. This makes it possible to save a selection of potentially required spare parts data directly on the smartphone before departure.

The 3D Printing Technology

Rapid prototyping and thus 3D printing was already established in the field of component development some 20 years ago. Even then, components could be represented with the aid of laser technology and a CNC-controlled layered plastic structure. In the meantime, this process technology has undergone considerable further development, which means that components in various metal alloys can now also be produced with selective laser sintering (SLS).

The Printing Materials

In addition to the production of metal components such as aluminium, steel and titanium, BMW Motorrad iParts 3D printers also enable the rapid production of plastic parts. For example, broken indicator lenses can be quickly printed out and replaced on site after a fall. Even the replacement of a cracked rearview mirror glass is possible with the 3D printers from BMW iParts.

Lab Testing

BMW Motorrad has performed detailed strength and functional tests for all components approved for 3D printing. First in the laboratory and then in field trials.

Ignaz Druckmeyer, Head of BMW Motorrad iParts:

“Once again we were able to draw on in-house synergies and tap into the relevant preliminary development work carried out by BMW Automobiles. Ultimately the challenge was to develop a small, portable yet high-performance 3D printer for transportation on the motorcycle. We managed to achieve this in the form of the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer. The SLS unit is equipped with its own power supply – a high-performance saline battery – and was subjected to a range of highly rigorous functional tests both in extreme cold and in blistering heat with a high level of dust exposure.”

Field Testing

Australian Outback

The BMW Motorrad iPart 3D mobile printer has recently been exposed to extreme conditions, for example in the Australian outback. Even at peak temperatures of plus 48 degrees Celsius and high dust levels, the components reproduced there corresponded in every respect to those previously produced in the conventional way.


However, the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D mobile printer had to withstand the lowest temperatures in the Antarctic. At temperatures as low as minus 52 degrees Celsius, the BMW motorcycle test team followed the tracks of Roald Amundsen and reached the South Pole on 16 December 2017 – exactly 106 years after Amundsen’s discovery – with four BMW R 1200 GS. And just as on Amundsen’s expedition, the BMW Motorsport Tent was used as a symbolic dwelling – by means of aluminium tent poles printed directly on site with the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D mobile printer.

But attention: This is only an April fool’s joke from BMW!!!

Source: BMW

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