No matter where you go or where you are, if something on your BMW breaks, you can 3D print any part for your motorcycle and be back on your way in no time. BMW Motorrad iParts new 3D printing system can travel with you and even build you a shelter if you’re savvy enough. It will be available starting in September…
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – April 1, 2018… A worn valve cap in the middle of the Icelandic ice desert, a gear lever broken off in the depths of the Brazilian jungle or a split oil sump in the hamada: this kind of problem often leads to a lengthy interruption, if not the end, of a motorcycle tour or a long-distance trip on two wheels.
For BMW riders, such inconveniences will be a thing of the past. Beginning in September, BMW Motorrad will be offering BMW Motorrad iParts as an optional equipment item. It is a 3D printing system that will allow BMW Motorrad dealers and customers to print out spare parts, as needed, to enable riders to continue their journey as quickly as possible.
High-performance 3D printers at BMW Motorrad sales partners and 3D Mobile Printers for transportation on the motorcycle.
To kickstart the program, 250 selected BMW Motorrad sales partners worldwide will be initially fitted with a permanently installed 3D printing system. This system, which includes an integrated processing center, allows the manufacture and subsequent machining of large and complex parts such as bevel gears, crown gears and engine housings. In this way, BMW Motorrad will be raising the whole area of spare parts to a new level: the new system will mean that even very rarely required parts not generally stocked by BMW Motorrad sales partners can be supplied on a just-in-time basis.
3D Mobile Printers for transportation on the motorcycle.
Smaller parts such as handbrake, clutch or gear levers, valve caps, fork bridges and turn indicator glasses can even be printed out by BMW Motorrad customers themselves using the BMW Motorrad iParts 3D Mobile Printer. This can be done not just at home but even when out and about, since the handy high-tech device can be conveniently stowed in a top case or side case.
Integration of the 3D Mobile Printer in a specially developed CFRP top case.
To compensate for the additional weight of the mobile printer, a special top case made of CFRP has been developed offering a weight reduction of approximately 9 lbs. as compared to a standard top case. Special layer structuring in the CFRP fiber composition ensures noise and vibration damping for optimum, disruption-free use of the printer. It was also possible to integrate the power supply in the laminate to eliminate the visibility of outside cables.
Download of design data and material specifications from the BMW iCloud via smartphone, tablet or PC onto the 3D printer.
The design data and material specifications required for printing purposes are supplied from the BMW iCloud, whether at the customer’s home or during travel: the data is downloaded directly onto the 3D printing systems via mobile phone, tablet or PC. A functioning internet connection is, of course, required for successful download. Anyone traveling on their motorcycle to particularly remote areas of the planet where an internet connection is not always available can make use of the optional equipment item BMW Motorrad iParts Explorer. This enables a selection of potentially required spare parts data to be saved directly on the smartphone before setting off on the journey.
Selective laser sintering – highly sophisticated laser technology for fast and precise manufacturing of spare parts.
3D printing was established for parts development approximately 20 years ago in the form of so-called Rapid Prototyping. Even then, it was possible to create spare parts from plastic using laser technology and a CNC-controlled layering method. This technique has since advanced considerably and it is now possible to produce spare parts made of various metal alloys using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
In addition to creating parts from metals such as aluminum, steel and titanium, the BMW Motorrad iParts 3D printers also allow fast production of plastic parts. This means that a turn signal lens that is broken during a fall, for instance, can quickly be replaced with a print-out version. It is even possible to replace a cracked rear mirror using the BMW iParts 3D printers.
Intensive lab testing of the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printers as well as field trials in extreme climate zones across the planet.
BMW Motorrad has carried out extensive functional and strength tests on all the parts approved for 3D printing – initially in the lab and later in the field.
“Once again we were able to draw on in-house synergies and tap into the relevant preliminary development work carried out by BMW Automobiles. Ultimately the challenge was to develop a small, portable, yet high-performance, 3D printer for transportation on the motorcycle. We managed to achieve this in the form of the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer. The SLS unit is equipped with its own power supply – a high performance saline battery – and was subjected to a range of highly rigorous functional tests both in extreme cold and in blistering heat with a high level of dust exposure,” commented Ignaz Druckmeyer, Head of BMW Motorrad iParts.
The BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer was most recently exposed to extreme conditions in the Australian outback, for example. Even at peak temperatures of plus 118 degrees Fahrenheit and with high volumes of dust, the replicated parts equalled their conventionally manufactured counterparts in all respects.
The BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer was also subjected to extreme cold in the Antarctic. At temperatures of minus 62 degrees, the BMW Motorrad testing team followed in the footsteps of Roald Amundsen, travelling on four BMW R 1200 GS to reach the South Pole on December 16, 2017 – exactly 106 years after Amundsen’s discovery. As was the case on Amundsen’s own expedition, a shelter was erected – in this case symbolically representing the BMW Motorsport tent – with aluminum tent poles produced directly on site using the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer.
The market launch of the new optional equipment item BMW Motorrad iParts and the BMW Motorrad iPart 3D Mobile Printer will be in September 2018.