Mar 21, 2018 | By Tess

GT-Moto, a custom motorcycle shop in Plano, Texas, is leveraging 3D printing technologies to streamline the design and development process for new and innovative motorcycles.

Sofi Tsingos, the owner of GT-Moto, says the technology has enabled her and her team to explore increasingly creative possibilities for motorcycle design while simultaneously cutting back on production and turnaround times.

Tsingos’s affinity for motorcycles goes back to when she was a little girl, playing with old motorcycles and parts at her father’s aircraft maintenance shop. Throughout her life, the vehicles have retained a special place in her life, especially after she and her father built a custom bike together during his cancer treatment. (The pair now make a point to raffle off a motorcycle every year to raise money for cancer research.)

Now the proud owner of GT-Moto, Tsingos is taking her motorcycle design savvy to a whole new level with 3D printing. According to her, the technology has enabled her and her team to overcome a range of prototyping and design hurdles they used to face, including having to order multiple versions of a part to find the optimal fit and function.

At one point, Tsingos decided to purchase a Robo R1+ 3D printer for GT-Moto’s  design and modeling specialist Ross Freehling. The $500 desktop 3D printer, developed by California company Robo, has a build volume of 254 x 228.6 x 203.2 mm and is compatible with a range of filaments. Since then, GT-Moto has acquired a Robo R2 3D printer, Robo's high-performance model ($1,499) and frequently works with its carbon fiber PLA filament.

“3D printing really makes it easy to take ideas and turn them into a physical item to place onto the motorcycle, in a matter of hours and at basically no cost,” said Tsingos. “Since we were able to do this at our shop, we no longer need to deal with the high costs and slow lead times associated with outsourcing jobs. Plus lots of time has also been saved by not having to communicate back and forth during the prototyping phase.”

At this point, the technology is not even just being used to quickly iterate prototypes, as Tsingos suggests that the quality of the R2 printer’s output is allowing GT-Moto to use printed parts for production. Another bonus? Less wasted material.

“Technology is going to make a huge difference with how many pieces of metal are going to wind up in the trash for us,” explained the GT-Moto owner. “And how many hours and hours are spent building something just to find that it is garbage. I think that Robo 3D printers are a game-changer.”

GT-Moto isn’t the only company exploring the use of additive manufacturing for motorcycle production. Italy-based company Volt last year presented its Lacama electric motorcycle with 3D printed bodywork, frame, and swing arm, while California’s Alta Motors has been using CLIP 3D printing technology to manufacture road-ready motorcycle parts since 2016.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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I.AM.Magic wrote at 3/22/2018 7:43:39 AM:

From the article and the video, it sounds like 3D printing is used for prototyping before machining parts. So...maybe the title of the article is not accurate, or I'm missing something :/

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