Last week, TheFabricator.com reported a 3D printing success story about VIBA, a French motorcycle manufacturer. VIBA wanted to make a limited-edition mini bike in homage to the iconic Honda Monkey, which they decided to call “Jane.”

The team faced one problem, however; they wanted to make the Jane in a run of just 23 bikes. Such a small manufacturing volume meant that the machined metal parts typically used in motorcycle manufacturing would be prohibitively expensive.

The solution to their problem came in the form of 3D printed metal. Not only did the 3D printed metal parts cost substantially less per unit than their traditionally manufactured alternatives, but they also did not require any tooling, molds or lead times. The combined cost and time benefits of 3D metal printing allowed VIBA to produce a fun and innovative homage to a cult favorite that would otherwise have been impossible to manufacture.

In addition, the versatility offered by 3D printing allowed the VIBA team to take a novel approach to designing the Jane. Because 3D printers can create complex geometries that would not be possible to machine, designers were able to combine multi-piece assemblies into single parts, like the Jane’s combination mudguard/headlight support. They were also able to create hollow levers which allow wiring for signal lights to pass through.

Perhaps the most exciting part of VIBA’s Jane is the 3D printed aluminum gas tank, which has a unique internal honeycomb design  To begin with, this lightweight design is printed in a single piece and eliminates the welding required by traditional gas tanks.

But it’s the functional benefits to riders that really set this gas tank apart. By breaking up the interior space of the gas tank, the honeycomb structure prevents gas from sloshing back and forth as the bike jostles around, keeping the bike more balanced and creating a smoother ride.

VIBA’s story is a great example of how 3D printing can provide businesses with cost-effective and innovative design solutions. At RapidMade, we are dedicated to helping our customers achieve their manufacturing goals using the most advanced technologies on the market. Click here to learn more about our 3D printing services.

Congratulations to VIBA on making such an exciting product!

The folks at 3DPrint.com recently reported that BMW Group used the HP Multi Jet Fusion to print their millionth 3D printed car part. According to the article, BMW Group has been using additive manufacturing technologies for the last 25 years. The number of 3D printed parts in their manufacturing operations has risen sharply, with an estimated 200,000 parts to be printed in 2018—a 42% increase since last year.

So what was the millionth part? A 3D printed window guide rail for the BMW i8 roadster. According to 3DPrint.com, the guide rail was developed in just five days and is part of the first wave of parts being printed by the Multi Jet Fusion for BMW. It’s far from the only part BMW produces using additive manufacturing, however. They also use SLS and other technologies to produce plastic and metal parts for many of their vehicles, including made-to-order custom parts for their customers. Per the article, Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW Group, currently uses 10 different 3D printed parts for their cars.

While many car manufacturers use additive manufacturing to produce tooling, BMW Group has been a pioneer in using 3D print technologies to create the parts themselves. They first started using 3D printers to make parts in 2010. In 2012, they began using SLS to manufacture parts for the Rolls-Royce Phantom. And it doesn’t look like they have any plans to slow down. This year, they built an entire Additive Manufacturing Campus, so keep an eye on more 3D printing innovations to come.

Here at RapidMade, we know firsthand how effective the HP Multi Jet Fusion is at manufacturing high-performance 3D printed parts faster and at less cost than any other 3D printer on the market. Still, it’s exciting to see world-class engineers like those at BMW Group taking advantage of such a promising technology.

If you’d like to see how Multi Jet Fusion printing or any of our manufacturing services could help your business, get started today by filling out our quote form. We’ll get back to you with a quote in 24 hours or less!

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

Kudos to Oregon Business Magazine for its feature, Women’s Work, which details the chronic gender gap that continues in manufacturing. The article is based on interviews with female professionals in trade organizations, manufacturing firms, and higher education.

Together they show how improving gender representation requires a concerted approach from across the industry to reshape an institutionalized culture of gender-based segregation and redefine archaic norms of what work women can and cannot do.

Strategies proposed include:

  • Advising businesses that diversity will ease the labor shortage and improve the bottom line.

  • Promoting manufacturing careers to female students and professionals.

  • Providing supportive networks, like Women in Manufacturing and Oregon Tradeswomen, to help women secure employment and businesses find and retain female employees.

  • Breaking down the “bro culture” prevalent in manufacturing.

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton, a Women in Manufacturing chair of its Oregon chapter was among the women featured in the article. RapidMade is a Portland-based additive manufacturing (3D printing) and engineering services firm.

Capture your customers' imagination with creative, one-of-a-kind displays and models.

Pump cutaway model shows off internal components of Cornell Pumps

Pump cutaway model shows off internal components of Cornell Pumps

Marketing

  • Get your products in front of customers where it would otherwise be difficult or impossible.
  • Customize marketing materials with logos and designs.
  • Infinite customization to achieve the exact effects you desire.
  • Get concept models in front of customers early in the product development cycle to get feedback before spending too much money on the wrong track.
  • Get tangible products in your customers hands instead of a 2D computer image.
Custom promotional giveaway for "Red Bull Guest House" party in Florida

Custom promotional giveaway for "Red Bull Guest House" party in Florida

Promotions

  • Pens and magnets are boring and forgettable. Make a promotional giveaway your customer has never before seen.
  • Come to us with nothing but an idea for a promotional product and we can take care of the rest.
  • Personalize your giveaways to the exact customer you are handing it to with custom messaging.
  • Many promotional products require expensive tooling and long lead times to accomplish - RapidMade can make your promotional products in a week or less.
Colored graphic blocks used by Amazon Web Services to explain its cloud services to prospective customers

Colored graphic blocks used by Amazon Web Services to explain its cloud services to prospective customers

Displays

  • Drive traffic to your stores at the window and sales with custom retail displays.
  • Stand out and get attention at your next trade show with eye catching models.
  • Capture your customers' attention and make them remember your brand
  • Lean on our design team to come up with a creative solution that will satisfy your customers and be flexible for your budget.
Reproduction of 3D scanned priceless Native American mask printed for Seattle Art Museum

Reproduction of 3D scanned priceless Native American mask printed for Seattle Art Museum

Exhibits

  • Store geometric and color data for priceless artifacts and works of art permanently with 3D scanning technology.
  • Use digital object data to engage visitors online with interactive web exhibits.
  • Create to-scale or re-scale replicas that let your visitors safely interact with models of priceless artifacts without endangering the original piece.
  • Create complimentary pieces for your exhibit from object data scanned by other museums around the world.
Development model shown to Portland City Council for project approval

Development model shown to Portland City Council for project approval

Architecture

  • Turn around in as little as 24 hours means more time to perfect your designs.
  • Embedded textures lets you simulate the colors of building materials like brick, stone and wood.
  • Small features lets you design realistic windows, doors, beams, facades and other important visual design elements.
  • Prints come directly from your BIM models.

How can we help you?

RapidMade has expanded its manufacturing staff this summer.  Please join us in welcoming:

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Drew Christensen

All the way from the distant land of Wisconsin is our new Shop Technician, Drew Christensen. He's been a mold maker, fab tech, model maker, and everything in between. You can find Drew kayaking, fishing, or camping when he's not doing side woodworking projects. His ideal job would be what he's doing now, working with his hands. We're happy to have  Drew join the team.

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Max Poroj

Max Poroj, a specialist in CNC programming, machining, and manual programming, is our new Mill & Machining Operator. When he's not taking wrestling with his 5 kids, he loves to go camping with them to enjoy the outdoors. He's a big fan of dark science fiction, 3D modeling, and listening to audio books and podcasts in his free time. Welcome to RapidMade, Max!

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Cameron York 

Our newest 3D Print Tech, Cameron York, is an Oregon-native packaging manager and 3D modeler. He spends his off hours playing Frisbee golf, camping, and skateboarding. His dream job would be to own a 3D modeling studio. We're excited to see what you can create, Cameron!

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Ryan Colindres

Ryan was recently promoted to the position of Shop Supervisor. He grew up cage-free, Oregon-raised in Eugene and is an Industrial Designer. When he's not running the shop, he's creating, modeling, and designing; he craves adventures. You can find Ryan biking, swimming, hiking, and "camping, baby". Ryan hopes some day to be a serial entrepreneur. Congratulions, Ryan!