Mar 21, 2016 | By Benedict

Meteor Power, a British powertrain manufacturer, has enlisted the help of 3D printing specialist KWSP to 3D print a scale model of its new hybrid motorcycle engine. The company will display the 3D printed model at exhibitions and investor meetings in order to attract potential funders.

As an up-and-coming engine manufacturer, what do you do when your incredible new invention, an ultra-compact hybrid motorcycle engine, is too costly to build on a one-off basis? You need that funding from external backers, but how can you secure it without a prototype? With a description? A poster? A compelling PowerPoint presentation? For Meteor Power, a British powertrain company founded in 2013, the answer to that difficult question was obvious: With 3D printing.

Meteor Power needed to bring its product to life, showing off all its impressive technical specs and, most importantly, its impressively small size. Meteor Power’s concept engine would, at 30kg, be roughly half the weight of typical motorcycle engines, as well as half the size (350mm x 300mm x 160mm) and packing twice the power density (300kW per liter) of conventional powertrains.

Once the company knew that a 3D printed model could perform the job better than anything else, its staff contacted KWSP, a 3D printing service provider based in Brackley, UK. KWSP used a Stratasys 3D printer to 3D print a full-scale model of the hybrid engine in black and gray ABS material. The entire process took 50 hours, a much shorter time than would have been required with traditional model-making methods.

“We opted for 3D printing as it was the best option to demonstrate the compact size and packaging of our design,” said Mike Edwards, chief executive of Meteor Power. “It also showed a much more tangible product that really engaged people and illustrated just how small everything was going to be. The 3D printed model proved to be the perfect solution to engage and have much more detailed conversations with potential customers and investors.”

KWSP’s role in the production of the 3D printed model went beyond just clicking “print”. Meteor Power had created highly detailed CAD files for the model engine, but they were not optimized for 3D printing. Several adjustments had to be made to the 3D design at the KWSP studio before the model was ready for 3D printing.

“While the submitted CAD files were fine, we were able to assess their relevance to the additive manufacturing process,” said Kieron Salter, managing director of KWSP. “Hence, we suggested the addition of threaded inserts to enable the complete engine to be bolted together. This made it even easier to transport and improved the lifelike appearance of the model. The finished unit looks great. It’s not a full working model, but a full-scale facsimile of the real thing.”

The 3D printed full-scale model contains no moving parts, but KWSP was able to print accurate details of the internal cylinder head and cooling systems, resulting in a model which looks ready to hit the road. Additionally, Meteor Power was able to use the 3D printed model to validate elements of its design.

Meteor Power has already brought its 3D printed model engine to several public events, including the MIA 10th International Energy Efficient Motorsport Conference at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and the launch of a new partnership between the MIA & the IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology). Keep an eye out for the real version, and remember how 3D printing helped to get it onto the road.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Geeze wrote at 3/23/2016 2:59:17 AM:

They could have at least post finished it. Looks like it came off a $300 printer!

dave wrote at 3/21/2016 5:02:44 PM:

That looks like a very large motorcycle engine. It would have to be for the largest motorcycles.

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