Recently, HR Wheels teamed up with GE Additive’s AddWorks team to create the first-ever titanium wheel that will be 3D-printed via Electron Beam Melting, according to New Atlas.
The finished wheel is being called the HRE3D+, and was revealed at the Formnext trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Electron Beam Melting process is apparently more efficient than traditional machining, and involves shining an electron beam into a bed of titanium powder. The powder then melts to create successive layers of solid material that are fused together to form an object. The left-behind powder can be used for later designs. Contrary to this, parts that are machined out of a solid block of titanium often waste a lot of material.
When creating the wheel, the five main sections of the wheel were 3D-printed, and the extra support structures were removed for recycling. The facing surfaces were minimally machined so they would all fit tightly together. The tops of the spokes were hand-brushed to remove any oils or remaining powder. Lastly, the centerpiece joined the five sections of the wheel together, while titanium fasteners mounted everything within a carbon fiber rim barrel.
“This is an incredibly exciting and important project for us as we get a glimpse into what the future of wheel design holds,” says HRE President Alan Peltier. “Working with GE Additive’s AddWorks team gave us access to the latest additive technology and an amazing team of engineers, allowing us to push the boundaries of wheel design beyond anything possible with current methods.”
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping