Racing Motorcycle Parts Created Fast and Economically with Stratasys 3D Printing
From Ohio State University (OSU), collegiate electric motorcycle team Buckeye Current is one of the fastest in the world. Their success is attributable largely in part to their ability to design and produce particular components to meet exact specifications. Stratasys 3D printers helped produce these both quickly and cost-effectively.
The team’s intention was to design and build a specialized motorcycle to race at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, North America’s second-oldest motorsport competition. Thus came the RW-3x, a motorcycle that featured complex and specially-designed parts to house crucial components of the bike.
Watch a test run of the Buckeye Current RW-3x motorcycle running on 3D printed parts from Stratasys on Pikes Peak.
One of the RW-3x’s most important component is its main electronic attachment, located on the bottom of the bike situated right under the battery pack. Measuring at 18x12x6”, it was the largest 3D printed piece that the team had ever used and was made possible using the large build tray on the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D printer. Precision and accuracy was very important for producing such a critical component of the motorcycle as it functioned as a shield to prevent debris and water from interfering with the data logging system and high-voltage electronics of the bike.
Access to Stratasys’ 3D printers enabled the Buckeye Current team to iterate their design ideas. With the resource-efficient Fortus 900mc, team members had the freedom to test and experiment with different designs and geometries while staying within the given budget. In comparison to traditional CNC machining and injection molding techniques, 3D printed parts allowed for complex surfaces that not only improved aesthetics but also performance by incorporating waterproofing, weight reduction and aerodynamic details. Producing one-off custom parts were especially favorable using 3D printing due to the low cost of printing. Other methods would not only be more expensive but would also take longer.
With the help of 3D printing technology OSU’s Buckeye Current was able to place third in the electric class during the Pikes Peak competition. The event was a great test for the team’s newly designed components and represented a fantastic opportunity to incorporate 3D printing within the academic space. With the success of their competition, we can surely expect Buckeye Current team members to be part of the next generation of automotive engineering professionals.
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