Have you ever wanted an alien-looking motorbike? A 3D-printed motorcycle that looks like a next-gen alien-like machine has been developed by aeronautics giant Airbus’ subsidiary firm AP Works, which, according to the company, is the world’s first 3D printed functional bike. The bike has been made not from plastic but from aircraft grade aluminium alloy particles and runs on electric power.
Aptly named the Light Rider, the bike weighs a mere 77 pounds (35kg) and is powered by a six kilowatt electric engine, which helps it attain zero to 50mph in just a few seconds. The hollow frame, which looks similar to an exoskeleton of sorts, was made using a selective 3D-printing system.
The bike’s lightweight frame was shaped using AP Works’s own Scalmalloy material, which in itself weighs only 13 pounds. According to AP Works, Scalmalloy is a non-corrosive aluminium alloy that is believed to be as strong as titanium and has been used in additive layer manufacturing. This design helps make the bike’s overall weight 30% lighter than other traditional motorcycles. AP Works used a unique algorithm in order to ensure that the machine was kept at a minimum weight, yet was structurally strong enough to handle the weight of an adult rider and the added on-road stress of daily driving scenarios.
When designing the motorcycle, AP Works’ intention was to use bionic structures and growth patterns inspired by nature, which is what the firm incorporated in its design algorithm. The frame itself was made by melting aluminium alloy particles in a 3D laser printing system, which enabled the firm to make some parts of the frame hollow. The hollow parts of the frame encase several cables and pipes, which run through the structure and allow the bike to be functional.
Airbus has manufactured a very limited number of Light Riders, each of which has been priced at $56, 095 (£38,663).