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!

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.

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!