Watch: BigRep takes NERA, a fully functional, 3D printed electric motorcycle for a ride

Large-scale 3D printer manufacturer BigRep, based in Germany, has created a fully functional electric motorbike. Named NERA (New-Era) the prototype e-motorbike was showcased at this year’s Formnext exhibition, and was designed by the company’s innovation lab and consultancy service NOWlab.

An angular and lightbike-like concept incorporating BigRep’s 3D printed airless tire design “This bike, according to Daniel Büning, Managing Director and a co-founder of NOWLAB “push[es] the limits of engineering creativity and will reshape AM technology as we know it.”

Test ride of the NERA motorcycle. Clip via BigRep
Test ride of the NERA motorcycle. Clip via BigRep

3D printed from head to tail

NOWlab is a team of experts at BigRep providing additive manufacturing consultancy services to its clients. It helps customers develop and integrate additive manufacturing solutions and takes them through design, market analysis, value chain, and post-production. Previous projects of NOWlab include the Smart Concrete Wall made in collaboration with Immensa Technology Labs.

The NERA bike was designed by two NOWlab experts, Product Designer Mattia Cristofori  and Maximilian Sedlak, an Applications Specialist and Parametric Designer. It is made of 15 components in total and, with the exception of electronics, all parts are 3D printed, including the rims, airless tires, and a flexible bumper. The electric engine of the bike is encased in a 3D printed shell, and the motor is integrated into the back wheel of the bike. From the headlights to the taillight, the NERA measures 190 cm, and stands at 90 cm high.

Coming soon to a road near you

The 3D printed parts of the NERA motorcycle were made with BigRep’s large-scale FDM 3D printers using a range of materials including PLA, Pro FLEX, a TPU-based flexible material, and the engineering-grade ProHT filament.

Though a fully functional prototype, demonstrated driving in the street, BigRep has confirmed that this bike was only made for design exploration purposes and unfortunately it won’t be hitting the road anytime soon.

Elsewhere in automotive and motorbike design, earlier this year BMW unveiled its 3D printed a chassis for the BMW S1000RR motorbike. And, more recently, HRE Wheels worked with GE Additive to 3D print titanium wheels for a McLaren P1. So although BigRep’s bike may not make it to market, there are plenty more initiatives where 3D printing is starting to become a viable option in the transport industry.

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Featured image shows the NERA e-motorbike. Image via BigRep.