Application: Custom parts, prototyping
Benefits of 3D Printing:
- Reduced costs
- Rapid prototyping
- Accuracy and precision
Lightness. Simplicity. Two words few modern motorbikes can attest to satisfying. You see, even the best sport bikes today are heavy lumps. Capable, yes. Chuckable and involving? Not so much. So when Vincenzo Mattia, CEO and founder of Vins Motors decided 6 years ago that he wanted to build a motorbike like no other, he knew what it needed to be.
It needed to be simple, light and devilishly fast.
Fast-forward to today, and Mattia's dream is a reality. The Duecinquanta is a performance motorbike in every sense of the word. It has a carbon fibre chassis, bespoke machined parts and a light but powerful engine. In a bold move - and in a nod to racing bikes of old - they engineered the Duecinquanta to have a 250cc two-stroke engine. Two-strokes are lighter and more reliable than four-stroke engines, but present a unique engineering challenge.
Meeting the challenge
The team at Vin Motors used CAD software and 3D printing to design parts for the chassis and engine. During the prototyping phase, they had enough 3D printed parts to make a full-scale model of the Duecinquanta. They used the Zortrax M300 for rapid prototyping, a choice which was made based on a recommendation from a colleague at Ferrari. As Mattia explains, "One of my former colleagues at Ferrari weighted in on the matter. They were already using Zortraxes at Ferrari. He showed me some of his prints and I decided to get this 3D printer for myself."
It turned out to be a great choice too. The Vins Motor team were able to print part iterations quickly. Design tweaks were made in CAD within minutes and sent to print immediately. This enabled the team to develop and test new prototypes in-house in days, versus the weeks it would take with outsourcing. "I wanted to see, to touch, every single part coming off the drawing board." said Mattia, "3D printing with the Zortrax M300 made that possible."
Bringing ideas to life
Prior to its completion, Vin Motors exhibited the Duecinquanta at the ECIMA Motorcycle Show in 2017. They had so many accurate 3D printed parts, that they were able to put on display engines built entirely from them. This gave visitors a unique look into the world of 3D printing. For shows and exhibitions, the team uses models printed with Z-HIPS and Z-ABS. "Those get you the best looking, most precise results”, says Mattia.
The team also made use of the M300's open filament system. With this, they were able to test a wide range of third party materials they wouldn't typically be able to with a proprietary system. For instance, for functional prototypes they used a material called PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate). PBT is an engineering-grade thermoplastic. It's an excellent electrical insulator. It's also particularly resilient to fuels and oils and is mechanically strong.
"We were considering alternative technologies for prototyping”, said Mattia. "But the greatest advantage of 3D printing is precision. It’s a very precise technique."
The bike, as you'd imagine, is an engineering marvel. The road legal version is fitted with a standard 250cc engine, but there's also a race version called the Duecinquanta Competizione with a 288cc engine. This is designed solely for track use. Thanks to its carbon fibre chassis, the bike has a near enough 1hp/1kg power to weight ratio. “What it means is that in Duecinquanta everything comes instantly. You have instant power, instant throttle response, instant acceleration," explains Mattia, who is rightly proud of his latest achievement. Here's the bike in all its glory:
3D Printer: Zortrax M300
Material(s) used: Z-HIPS, Z-ABS
This information was first published on the Zortrax website.
We invite you to find out more about the Duecinquanta on Vins Motors.