During the recently held Digital Day, an event where BMW shows and explores the ways that digital technologies are changing the way we look at transportation, the German manufacturer surprised by showing a 3D printed S1000RR chassis.
In a special section dedicated to the innovations made by using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, BMW revealed a complete frame and swingarm made by using a 3D printer.
The process involves building up three-dimensional shapes using thin layers of molten material, and this way manufacturers can create complicated shapes that simply they can’t do it using traditional methods like machining or casting processes.
BMW didn’t detail what exactly was used in this 3D printed frame and swingarm. Usually we see all kinds of objects made in some kind of plastic, but sometimes, and using the right machines, manufacturers can produce 3D printed parts in metal. And that seems to be what BMW did with this S1000RR chassis.
The chassis appears to be made in aluminium, and in fact just by looking at it we can say that it must be really light!
We’re not sure what to think about this 3D printed frame and swingarm.
We can look at this from the point of view that BMW is in fact exploring new ways to produce fast and lightweight parts for motorcycles, but if we want to be realistic, we don’t believe BMW will be using 3D printed chassis on motorcycles anytime soon. Probably the German brand is able to find a way to use 3D printed parts on motorcycles, but we’re thinking it’ll be only some small parts and used in limited production motorcycles, or special models.
At Digital Day, BMW said that its Research and Innovation Centre in Munich already makes as many as 140,000 3D printed parts per year in both plastic and metal, but those are parts used mainly in their cars like Rolls Royce or the new BMW i8 Roadster.