NOWlab, the innovation arm of German additive manufacturing company BigRep, designed a fully 3D-printed motorbike called Nera. Every single piece of the Nera electric motorbike (excluding the electrical components) have been 3D-printed.
That includes the tires, rims, frame, fork (which connects the front wheel and axle to the frame) and seat. It took three days to print and cost £2,000 ($2,600) to complete the working prototype.
To say this is the world’s first 3D printed electric motorcycle isn’t completely accurate.
There was an electric 3d printed motorbike project called the Light Rider that debuted before the Nera; but the Nera is the first almost 100 percent 3D printed electric motorbike, even down to the airless tires.
Stephan Beyer, the CEO of Nera maker BigRep said:
“The idea was to demonstrate to designers and engineers and architects and the general consumer what 3D printing was all about. Historically, engineers and designers have been limited with manufacturing technologies like grinding and molding.”
The bike features an extraordinarily bold design with sharp futuristic angles and polygons that are only possible because of the amazing technology of 3D printing. Beyer told the BBC:
“The nice thing with 3D printing is that you can swipe those limitations away and you can create objects that have completely new capabilities, follow completely new sets of designs. For instance, with the outer hull of the bike, that follows a design that we created that you would typically not be able to bring to life with a traditional bike.”
The vehicle was designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori and Maximilian Sedlak from BigRep’s innovation NOWlab, to display the firm’s ability to use new materials and techniques. The motorcycle was 3D-printed using the fused filament fabrication (FFF) process, which feeds a continuous filament of thermoplastic material through a moving, heated printer extruder head. They said:
“In building Nera, the engineers didn’t simply adapt existing motorcycle designs, but instead envisioned a bike for large-format FFF technology, setting a benchmark for truly creative design; breaking the limits of traditional mechanical engineering.”
The Nera motorbike’s groundbreaking features include:
- Airless tires
- Fully electric engine embedded in the back rim
- The battery custom fitted within the angular body
- Embedded sensor technology and flexible bumpers instead of suspension
- A forkless steering with eight pivot joints
- A lightweight rhomboid wheel rim
- Embedded electronics – LED lights with 3D-printed reflectors
- A strong hexagonal structures for load-bearing elements like the wheels
Unfortunately, the Nera is not yet for sale. We can only hope that it will be very soon. One thing is for sure, with the advancement of the 3D printing process and the technology becoming more affordable, the future of our roads are going to be very interesting with vehicles like this on them!