K3D, a 3D printing service bureau based in The Netherlands, worked with Electric Superbike Twente to perfect a racing electric motorbike.We heard of K3D for the first time when the company took part in the design challenge organized by Additive Industries. Today, they demonstrate their expertise in the motorsports industry by producing metal 3D printed components for Electric Superbike Twente’s motorbike.
According to Feitse Krekt, Technical Manager at Electric Superbike Twente, “the cooling shell of the first superbike consists of multiple parts, which were quite hard to produce, using conventional production methods like turning and milling. For these production methods, lots of material were needed and therefore the end product turned out to be quite heavy.”
Furthermore, Freitse explained that the cooling performance did not meet their expectations. “Because of the turning process, the wall thickness needed to be higher than optimal, and we were unable to cool the electric motor as efficient as possible. Therefore, we had less power than desired and sometimes needed to slow down to not overheat the electric motor.”
Metal 3D Printing technology provides a certain uniqueness to the parts and a wide range of options at the design level. For Bulsink, CTO of K3D, “the part has an optimal cooling performance due to the thin walled design with internal channels on the right spot. This was only possible with 3D metal printing where you have optimal freedom of design. On top of this the part had been designed for minimal weight. The part was printed first time right and is very accurate and can be used directly without any postprocessing.”
According to K3D’s CTO who compared this application to others of the same range made for the racing industry, these parts were at least 4 times smaller.
The AM industry has already revealed a ton of applications in the racing industry: Ego Corsa manufactured by CRP group and Jane, are a few examples. However, the only thing is that if we can already mass produce bikes using AM, the mass production of motorbikes at scale is not yet considered by companies of that industry.
Enthusiasts can see the new superbike on May 24th, at the Kinepolis in Enschede.
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