Based in Ulsan, South Korea, the Korean Additive Manufacturing User Group (K-AMUG) is a developer of 3D printing materials, equipment, manufacturing processes and service-related technologies. It’s latest project, a 3D printed lightweight, airless tire, has been displayed at Techfesta 3D printing expo in Ulsan, and presents the possibilities of future sports product design.
Founded in 2017, K-AMUG’s goal is to integrate 3D printing technology into local manufacturing industries such as automotive and shipbuilding. Though it has no affiliation with the U.S. Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG), K-AMUG was established “In line with this trend […] as the necessity of cooperation between additive manufacturing engineers and consumers had increased and the necessity of industrial development had been continuously raised.”
3D printed airless tire
K-AMUG’s 3D printed tire project was lead by professor Yi Chang Kyoo of Hanseo University, Seosan, alongside team members Park Yoo-jin and senior engineer, Jung Sung-ho. It is made from flexible TPU, applying a lattice pattern.
3D printed as a single piece, the tire measures 20mm in width, 622mm in diameter inside the wheel, and 700mm diameter outside. K-AMUG claims the tire is faster than its air-filled equivalents, performing without the need for reinflation. The tires have a bright sheen on them and were demonstrated at Techfesta attached to a black L-MTBMANHATTAN 26 GS Alton brand sports bicycle.
The future of sports equipment?
Though a novel application, the concept of an airless 3D printed tire is not entirely new. Recently, large-scale 3D printer provider BigRep released a case study featuring a 3D printed airless tire for a Specialized Globe Centrum bike.
Tire manufacturing giants Goodyear and Michelin have also explored this concept for car tires. The Goodyear Oxygen is a 3D printed tire that contains moss which absorbs moisture and releases fresh oxygen, in an effort to cut down on carbon emissions. And Michelin proposed a ‘Print&Go’ system for reprinting tread on-demand. In China, Linglong Tire, developed the country’s first 3D printed tire in 2017.
According to Kyoo, the use of 3D printing in K-AMUG’s tire led to a 17% weight reduction, going from 2.27kg to 1.89kg when compared to a traditional 700C tire.
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Featured image show K-AMUG’s 3D printed airless tire. Photo via K-AMUG.