To the Moon and Back with Bigrep on the set of the First Man Movie

first man movie and the Bigrep ONE

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In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon, saying “that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a historic moment, that would forever change our perspective on what is possible with new technology.

The First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, is showing in movie theaters around the world and we can proudly say that Bigrep took a small part in its production. It’s unlikely that Bigrep will be the next Ryan Gosling or Claire Foy, but who knows, given how quickly artificial intelligence is developing.

“With new slicing software you can take a big scale model, chop it up and print it overnight on 18 3D printers. We literally ran those printers 24 hours a day for six months. This German company called BigRep developed a metre-by-metre print bed and they loaned us two of their machines so we could print an Apollo 11 capsule in one go,” said Nathan Crowley, the Production Designer for the film to the animationmagazine.net.

For Crowley, the four-time Academy Award nominee, it was important to have the real parts during the production process, to get a proper impression of their form on the set. Recording these key scenes using miniatures made it look more realistic, for the whole audience. Crowley believes in combining additive technology with old techniques. The results can be seen on big screens around the world. So what was actually printed? Well, the answer is not so obvious.

Remember the Saturn V rocket from the trailer? We are the only company capable of producing objects this size. The model was 3D printed on two Bigrep ONE printers! In addition to the rocket, the Apollo Command/Service Module and Lunar Excursion Module were also 3D printed. Amazingly, it is impossible to see the difference between the 3D printed objects and the ones created with traditional computer graphic techniques. Crowley and his team know how to blend both techniques, so the viewer cannot spot the difference. (To be honest, if the movie crew didn’t tell us, we would also be in the dark.)

From automobile parts for BMW to Hollywood movie sets, what’s next for additive manufacturing? Without a crystal ball, we can’t say for sure, but what we do know is that’s one small step for the movie industry, one giant leap for Bigrep!

From 3D Scanning to 3D Printing – Finding 3D Solutions in Florida

3d scanning - Neometrix 3D solutions

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When it comes to finding an individual solution for various Floridian industries, NeoMetrix is a go-to name, providing 3D scanning and engineering services. Surrounded by around 19,000 manufacturing companies, they have found a way to stand out in this sunshine state. Being active in a handful of major industries and knowing how important it is to understand the specific needs of their customers, they were bound to be a great fit for the BigRep reseller network.

It has been 15 years since Dan Perreault launched NeoMetrix Technologies, Inc. As the President & CEO of this Orlando-based company, he started out as a reseller of one of the world’s leading producers of 3D scanners and providing engineering services.  His experienced team offers a range of services and supplies from scanning and tooling to prototyping and designing.

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Perreault describes the company as a solution-oriented organization. “We don’t want to sell boxes, we want to offer real solutions to companies,” he said. In terms of improving their productivity, the BigRep printer gives them not only larger format prints, but also reduced costs of materials, compared with other filament providers. For NeoMetrix, the BigRep STUDIO has turned out to be the perfect tool for expanding their cooperation with customers. “With BigRep,” Perreault continued, “the overall cost of machine ownership is much lower than competitive systems.   It’s our position that this attribute will allow more customers to take advantage of this technology.”

3d scanning of a statue

Florida is an ideal environment for working in the 3D printing industry, thanks to the broad array of industries operating out of the southern state. Perreault said, “Thinking of Florida you think… theme parks!” Indeed, this magical place opens many windows for large-scale 3D printing. “We definitely have a lot of opportunities in the entertainment industry. There is also a large aerospace presence here too.” In addition to that, NeoMetrix is active in the automotive, manufacturing and education fields, and have a wealth of experience working on projects for art and sculpture-making using 3D scanning and printing technologies.

The importance of having the knowledge and experience in the 3D scanning industry cannot be understated – it has helped make NeoMetrix one of the 3D leaders in Florida. It’s not only their excellent service in a diverse range of fields that makes them unique in the market, but also the customer-focused attitude they have. The depth of understanding their customers’ values and demands has put them in the perfect position to demonstrate the business benefits that come from large-scale 3D printing.

“We want to understand what it is customers want to do, how are they doing it now, and how we can help them do it better – and perhaps the BigRep way.”

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Driving 3D Printing into Future Factories: BMW Group Personal Mover Concept

Personal Mover Concept by BMW research center

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As a result of improving technology, our world and our everyday lives are going through drastic changes, particularly in regard to mobility. We can drive, we can fly, we can cruise and we can innovate – we’re moving in completely different ways according to our shifting needs.

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To make the working lives of their employees easier and more efficient, renowned global automaker BMW Group has created the Personal Mover Concept. BMW Group Research and Innovation Center in Munich designed this impressive electric one-person means of transport. The idea behind such a unique project was simple:

Employees at BMW Group plants and logistics centers sometimes cover up to 12 kilometers per day on foot – and having to carry small parts and work materials often makes it even harder. Sites such as the BMW Group Research and Innovation Center in Munich or the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing and Spartanburg are sprawling campuses, where many employees have to cover huge distances to do their jobs. (source)

The thought was, why not sort a solution for that? Or, to take one step further, why not use additive manufacturing technology to print a solution?The Personal Mover Concept is 60 cm wide and 80 cm long, so even with one person on board, there is still a space for long or heavy objects. It can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h and turn on the spot to the left or right up to 90°. The handlebar contains the entire electrical system, the battery and the drive wheel. Having in mind the safety of users and pedestrians, the Personal Mover Concept includes a bell, brake and a dead man’s control. One of the most innovative facts about this object is that the handlebar stand has been 3D-printed on the BigRep ONE. As Richard Kamissek, Head of the Operations Central Aftersales Logistics Network department said, “It had to be flexible, easy to maneuver, zippy, electric, extremely agile and tilt-proof – and, at the same time, suitable for carrying objects. The Personal Mover Concept can do all of this – and is also fun to drive. We hope to start using it as soon as possible!”

BMW Plant Commuter

Being a part of this innovative idea is not only making us proud, but also giving us food for thought. If, thanks to 3D printing technology, mobility advancements are helping us improve the automotive, aerospace and electric vehicle industries, are there any limits for how far transport can go? Large-scale 3D printing can truly change the way companies innovate. We see everything from prototyping to the whole production process, where 3D-printed objects are present in everyday life and being used all over the world. Starting with factories, we expect to see these kinds of mobility tools in use at airports, shopping malls or warehouses.

3D printing can improve our environment in faster, more cost-efficient and creative ways. That makes it the ideal technology for supporting the mobility innovations and creates a range of the excellent opportunities for various industries. We were thrilled to learn of this smart project, and we cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring for the 3D printing industry, BMW Group and for the entire network of BigRep customers and partners.

Two Swiss Experts Form a 3D Alliance

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“Made like a Swiss watch,” says Daniel Broglie, CEO of Chromos AG to us when we call for a chat. “Right on time, 2PM!” It’s immediately reflective of the value the Swiss CEO – and indeed, perhaps Swiss businesses more broadly – place on precision and timing. As Broglie explains, Swiss companies across industries put huge emphasis on being the best in their field.

They tend to have strong research and development foundations and a lot of companies are highly specialized in what they do – they’re proudly niche, specialized. There’s the material competence, combined with the fact that many of companies do highly specialized tooling for automotive and other core traditional industries. Broglie explains of Swiss industry, “On the one hand, we have to think about production. But on the other side, we have to be thinking about how we can adapt for future success.”

With its beginnings as a 2D printer supplier and ink distributor, the Zurich-based Chromos AG may not have seemed like a clear contender to be a leader in the Swiss 3D printing field. Though it was the company’s philosophy of helping customers to transform their businesses that had them put on their large 3D glasses, so to say.

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“We help our customers to find new ways of working – to move from conventional ways of working into the future. It’s not just the printing or the hardware, it has to do with change,” said Broglie. It is this deep knowledge about the ways businesses can shift, strong partnership network and a robust contact base across Switzerland, that formed the basis for a powerhouse cooperation in the field of additive manufacturing.

Chromos AG has a history with Bern-based 3D printing experts Form AG, as supplier for them. It turned out the two companies had a mutual interest in BigRep machines and were brought together by BigRep’s Sales Director EMEA & LATAM, Ingolf Nachtigall. They decided to cooperate – finding Form’s strength in applications and using the machines, to be a good fit with Chromos’ customer consulting, sales and after-sales experience (provided by service division Imsag). “We were convinced that this is a really perfect match,” said Broglie. “We can benefit from each other and learn.”

Chromos AG and Form AG have gone on to found Plattform3, which is a 3D-printing-focused venture to consult Swiss companies on using large-scale BigRep technology to improve their production. Form AG is a pioneer of new technologies in a range of fields, including 3D modelling. Recently they worked on a fascinating advertisement project for the Samsung SSD 850 Pro internal storage device, in which they designed the Samsung Robot ‘Victo’ (watch the robo-battle ad here) and also printed a full-scale example of it on the BigRep ONE.

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Stefan Ingold, CEO of Form AG, is thrilled with the partnership with Chromos and BigRep and believes it can further convince Swiss companies that it is crucial to engage with large-scale 3D printing technologies as soon as possible. “Ensure your finger is on the pulse, and benefit from the sheer unlimited possibilities of 3D printing,” said Ingold. “3D is also about implementing visions: using technology to develop something unprecedented, exploring new horizons, reinventing oneself, and surprising and inspiring customers.”

Education is a big part of this, because additive manufacturing technologies are an investment for the long run, not a fad. Many Swiss industries are listening closely, but perhaps just not yet sold on the benefits for their business. BigRep is a proud partner with Chromos AG, Form AG and their Plattform3 in this process. “BigRep shares cool applications, and if this helps our industries to see the potential, then that is a great thing,” said Broglie of BigRep’s resources, such as blog articles, videos and use case e-books. “We feel BigRep really wants to understand what customers are doing. We like their partnership approach as well.”

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Racing Ahead with Large-Scale 3D Printing

car racing with large-scale 3d printing

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Eleven-O-Six Racing Team is the motorsport team at Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany. This year, Eleven-O-Six was inspired by the possibilities offered by additive manufacturing and got into gear to see what it could bring to their high-performance car production process.

Steering Wheel Project

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The first 3D printing project the team embarked on was fabrication of a steering wheel to fit one of their cars. A demanding geometric requirement of the part is an internal cavity able to accommodate a series of electronic control parts. Usually made from carbon fiber, the part also needs to be strong and produced as a single-piece – they found it to be a fast, low-cost production process with the BigRep ONE.

Full Bodywork Project

After success with the steering wheel, Eleven-O-Six raised their sights and set themselves the ambitious challenge of 3D printing the entire bodywork of one of their racing cars.
They created a digital model of the bodywork covering the metal vehicle frame, using existing concept drawings. A full model was produced on CATIA software with support from a specialist in bodywork at project partners, the MRP institute.

With the digital model in place, tweaking and prototyping amended designs became an easy process. As B. Sc. Robert Weber, Manager Bodywork for Eleven-O-Six, told us, “Designing new parts for the bodywork was very comfortable when using the BigRep ONE. I just designed a new part and one or two days later I had the printed version.”

Nose Cone Prototype

Eleven-O-Six first produced a section of the bodywork to examine its quality and performance, arranging for Open Lab in Hamburg to print a nose cone prototype on a BigRep ONE. BigRep
PRO HT filament was chosen for its high temperature resistance. The team oriented the print so that there would be no support material on visible surfaces of the final part.

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The nose cone was post-processed with the assistance of a professor of vehicle technology at the university, the final touch was a glue-on decal adding grip to one section of the nose. The part was tested after production by Arconic Fastening Systems.

Eleven-O-Six 3D Printed a Functional Racing Car

Race Day Ready

Production and testing of the nose cone demonstrated that bodywork parts could be 3D printed and indicated some advantages of doing so. It also revealed certain issues with the technique. Eleven-O-Six methodically worked through these issues and pushed their additive manufacturing project through to completion: Second Team Lead for the project, Nils Thode, said, “As far as we know we have the only 3D-printed bodywork. Completely 3D printed, no moulding, nothing else.” The Eleven-O-Six team has road tested their car and we were delighted to see it zooming down the raceway, all fitted out with its 3D-printed bodywork.

Prof. Dr.-Ing Jens Wulfsberg, Chair of Production Engineering (LaFT) and leader of the project, underlines a key advantage the new production method brings: “Using the BigRep ONE is the fast solution to produce a fast car because we have short cycles for optimizing the parts. Every optimization cycle, the car is better, faster. This is one of the direct consequences of using the BigRep ONE.”

Out of the Box in Ohio: Additive Solutions at DesignBox3D

Additive Solutions at DesignBox3D

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As Preet Jesrani puts it, technology holding the promise to change the way the world works only comes along once in a lifetime. He started DesignBox3D five years ago in the firm belief that additive manufacturing will drive innovation and re-invent manufacturing for generations to come.

Jesrani came to additive manufacturing (AM) from a background in management consulting, banking and politics. He consistently heard political candidates campaigning about the ‘next best idea’, saying they would support the next industrial revolution, without them offering a framework for how it would actually happen. Jesrani noticed that in the sense of training, design, production, prototyping, AM has the greatest potential to create high-paying jobs and careers, and we already know AM has revolutionized all those things. “That’s why I came into it, because I saw it as one space that truly created value.”

“One of our long-time clients approached us inquiring as to whether we would offer the BigRep line of large format 3D printers,” said Jesrani, Founder of DesignBox3D – a multi-disciplinary team in Sandusky, northeastern Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. “We immediately initiated conversations with BigRep and were in discussions with Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America.” Not long after that, DesignBox3D became a reseller of BigRep products.

DesignBox3D-3Dprinting-Bigrep

“Being in northeastern Ohio, there’s a great deal of opportunity when in comes to AM. We’re about one hour from Toledo, an hour from Detroit, not far from Youngstown,” where, he noted, America Makes, the largest accelerator for 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the US, is based. “We’re also just two hours from the state capital Columbus, where there are many venture-funded startups and established Fortune 500 companies, so as we get more traction regionally with BigRep, we expect there will be a lot of business building here.”

Additive has opportunities in the state’s automotive sector, as well as among the many other manufacturers. While not yet as pervasive as it is among major European automotive companies, Jesrani said there are some stellar best practice examples of US companies using additive in their production plans, and a huge opportunity for more.

He explained that the challenge has typically been getting the message through to industry that it is good to adopt and build AM into their production. “It would be great for young companies in their infancy to incorporate additive right from the word go. It would put them lightyears ahead of the competition.”

It is for reasons such as these that Jesrani notes the importance of groups like America Makes. Starting university students thinking about integrating additive manufacturing early is crucial, and one example of this in action is America Makes recently onboarding Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) as a member.

STUDIO_DesignBox3D

It is still a longer sales cycle for a larger machine such as the BigRep ONE or STUDIO, he explained, though it is shorter than it was a year ago. When he and his team meet with a potential customer, they know that getting internal approvals, making the business case to upper echelons of management and then gathering the budget to purchase takes time. Jesrani says he knows in many cases, somebody they met with some months ago will have the DesignBox3D business card on their desk throughout this whole process – then they give them a call and say, “Ok, we’re finally ready!”

He finds that more and more clients, especially design and engineering teams within corporations, prefer DesignBox3D’s hands-on approach and focus on the customer experience. Rather than being just one in a sea of online-only providers of 3D solutions, when a customer orders something online, we call them and make sure it’s the right fit.

“Before we get this out to you, let’s make sure this is a match,” Jesrani often says to customers who have ordered a product. Because, he explains, as the relationship builds, DesignBox3D customers are ultimately glad for the counsel and advice on the machine that best fits their needs. We also like them to know that if there’s something we don’t have, we’ll bring it in, so long as it fits our quality criteria. “It all goes hand in hand with our approach. We will drive, fly to wherever they are to do an install or a consult and find the best solution.”

Learning in 3D: Equipping the Next Gen of Engineers & Designers

3D printing and education

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We’re excited about this next generation of students finishing their studies with demonstrated practical abilities to use 3D printing technology, and a thirst to change the way we design and build. From the BigRep Innovation Award, which recognizes 3D design talent, to working with universities and students on realizing their complex prototyping projects, BigRep is committed to supporting education about FDM and additive manufacturing.

A new video by BigRep zooms in on three innovative projects that are underway at universities in Denmark, Germany and Britain, all of which exemplify the potential of 3D printing and how it can enhance tertiary or vocational education.

Learning Your 3D ABCs - Large-Scale 3D Printers for Education

One engineering student at Kingston University in London has been designing a 3D-printed injector for a rocket engine and spoke about how the 3D printer has transformed the way designs are developed in real life for testing. Creating a design, producing it, machining it to make changes – this process can be difficult and time-consuming, but the 3D printer makes it easy to develop multiple versions for testing at the same time for a faster turnaround.

One student project has involved using Kingston University’s BigRep ONE to print molds for Caterham racing car parts, such as a carbon fiber door for the driver. As engineering lecturer Dave Haskell says, they print the pieces, which can then go straight into the wind machine for testing.

3D printing in education
Engineering students at Aalborg University have access to the department's BigRep ONE

As Haskell puts it, a main benefit of large-scale 3D printers is that they do not limit your imagination. Practically, you can print big. He says that if there’s any easier way to do it, an engineer will find it. For example, 3D printing is so much easier than trying to make something out of foam. We would also argue, that if there’s a more innovative way of doing something, clued-in students are likely to find it.

At Aalborg University, a pair of students doing their Masters in Offshore Energy Systems are working on a project to create a floating turbine. The blackboard where the pair have sketched out their calculations looks like a jumble of numbers to the average untrained eye, but it represents the working out on a complex design for the 3D printer. They have scaled the design and printed it large scale to test.

For more information and video content on the exciting 3D-printed bicycle project at Aalborg University, which was covered on Plastics Today and All3DP, then click here to watch the bike in action. Just quietly, we’re curious to see whether their frame would work with our world-first, 3D-printed bike tires, printed using our TPU-based Pro FLEX.

3D printing in education
This 3D printed bike frame was designed and 3D printed at Aalborg University

The Technical University (TU) Wildau in Brandenburg, Germany, has a BigRep 3D printer that their engineering students use to develop prototypes with different functionalities. In the video, TU Wildau’s FabLab Manager and Ph.D. candidate Markus Lahr, shows a 3D-printed casing for a gear.

He speaks of the great opportunity that large-scale 3D printing technology brings to students to bring their ideas to life in such a formative time in their professional lives and education. An extended video by BigRep offers insight on another student project at TU Wildau, involving printing a bicycle with the BigRep ONE.

Though it is not only university-age students that should be learning about FDM! Guillaume Kouyoumdjian, BigRep’s Head of Online Services, recently gave a presentation on 3D printing to his daughter’s 5th grade class at the bilingual French-German Märkische Grundschule in Berlin.

A member of the BigRep team introduces 3D printing to pupils at a French school in Berlin
A member of the BigRep team introduces 3D printing to pupils at a French school in Berlin

Using a small 3D printer – for space and time reasons it was not possible to use a BigRep large-scale printer! – Kouyoumdjian showed the young students how to design, slice and print a small object in 30 minutes as part of his presentation. The object was used as part of an interactive story aimed at showing the children how 3D printing could easily reproduce objects. Most of the students had never heard of 3D printing before, and one student exclaimed, "I have so many questions in my head. 45 minutes was much too short!"

Ms-Sigalas

Class teacher Ms Bénédicte Sigalas said, “There was a well-established link between the different subjects the children are studying and their daily lives. The presentation on the evolution of past, present and future jobs was very interesting.”

We look forward to hearing how some of these students are changing the face of additive manufacturing a decade down the track!

We Lifted the BigRep ONE with a 3D Printed Carabiner

The BigRep ONE beeing lifted with a 3D Printed CArabiner

Michel David, Special Projects Manager at BigRep, had printed a few carabiners at home with his family on their small desktop 3D printer. They’re useful, he said, for hanging things, or for clipping a bicycle helmet to a backpack.

He then wanted to try and 3D print a super-sized carabiner and see if it is strong enough to lift very heavy objects. With the BigRep ONE having a 1m3 volume build, the challenge wasn’t going to be printing the large carabiner – rather, it would testing the strength of BigRep’s filaments!

“I started printing carabiners in large size, to see how strong they are,” said David. “We were testing holding heavy things with it, then Johann suggested we try lifting one of our own BigRep ONE printers.”

We Lifted Our Huge 500 kg 3D Printer With BigRep PLA

So, a plan was hatched. One of the older BigRep ONE machines, which BigRep was gifting to a university, would be the load borne by one of the carabiners. David and the team calculated that a certain thickness of BigRep PLA would be able to lift up to 1000 kg off the ground.

The team bought the 3D model design from ddf3d.com and they customized it for BigRep’s use. It was printed in eight hours, using 25% infill and a wall thickness of 6 mm.

BigRep connected with a prototyping space in Berlin-Kreuzberg called MotionLab, which had the room and giant crane necessary to complete the feat.

The aim was to lift it 15 cm or so, in safe conditions with padding beneath each corner of the printer, so as to cushion a possible, yet unlikely, fall. All BigRep and MotionLab staff involved were standing by, all kitted out with helmets.

Then, the grand finale. Drumroll, please…

Our 3D printed Carabiner

The BigRep PLA carabiner lifted the 332.9 kg machine, then the team added more weight to the printer to make it 507 kg and it held, comfortably. As David had predicted, the BigRep PLA stayed strong and did the BigRep team proud. We highly recommend watching the video of the lift for the full effect.

Thanks again to all those involved, especially to MotionLab for the use of their facility and equipment!

Check out our BigRep PLA Filament

Sleek Automotive Models – 1:4 Car Model

car model

Technological developments seem to race by so quickly… But sometimes they become a part of the race. In this case, BigRep technology aided in the creation of a 3D printed car model for a racing car meant to travel at ultimate speeds.

Inspired by vehicles used in the 1950s Bonneville Speedway Salt Flat Races in the United States, German university student Maximilian Thomas designed a race car with clean lines, optimum speed and an aerodynamic shape. His model was ultimately 3D-printed on a 1:4 scale. It may not be full scale, but certainly not a size to be sneezed at – it is 1 m in length by 10-15 cm in height.

Salt Flats Racing Car Model on the BigRep ONE

“Printing on a big printer is always an advantage, because gluing small [desktop printed] parts together always means deviation and it gets really imprecise,” said Thomas.

Thomas completed the car design and model as part of his Bachelor thesis, the aim of which was to create a reasoned countertrend for autonomous driving, with a matching look. He used a BigRep ONE to print the larger parts of his design that would not have been possible with a desktop 3D printer.

Thomas says that printing with a large-scale 3D printer improves precision and the capacity to include complex details in the print. Compared with other traditional methods of automotive model-making, 3D printing is faster, easier and more cost-efficient – all ideal aspects for companies looking to save costs and resources when prototyping, not to mention university students working on experimental projects.

So, while printing an entire functional vehicle on a 3D printer is not quite ready yet, printing the model for it certainly is! Recommended is to design the file in such a way that large parts, such as the hood of a car, the roof and doors, can be printed in one piece.

Furthermore, there are some easy ways to hide the seams by slicing the CAD file (we explore top tips for that in this video). This can help in the creation of a model with sleek lines, where an awkwardly placed seam could ruin the entire effect. Understandably, this is not what makers want for their aesthetically impressive automotive models!

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BigRep Defies Conventions with Custom Wheel Rims

3D Printed wheel rim

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The wheels are always in motion here at BigRep, to consistently dream up objects that push the boundaries of design for 3D printing. BigRep Product Designer Marco Mattia Cristofori wanted to develop an object that demonstrated the benefit of 3D printing for industrial use, while also focusing on original, striking design. Introducing, the BigRep wheel rim.

Like BigRep as a company, working at the intersection of design and technology, Cristofori’s wheel rim is a meeting of advanced design and industry.

In preparing for this project, Cristofori looked at wheel rims and hubcaps for vehicles, and thought he could go even further with a design that what you usually see gracing the average car. An alternative to CNC-machining a prototype, he wanted to design the wheel rim prototype for large-scale 3D printing.

Particularly in the US, customization of these kinds of vehicle features is very popular. Prototyping these custom parts is, however, often an expensive, time-consuming process. With 3D printing, it becomes a much easier process to design such automotive prototypes for form checks and molding.

Providing extra stability are the fluid tree-branch-like forms stemming from the center of the wheel. These braces are a functional feature as well as an aesthetic touch, and defy the norm of having just one layer or line on a wheel rim or hubcap. More complex geometries are not possible with CNC and other traditional methods, but with 3D printing there is endless possibility.

“With 3D printing you can prototype organic forms, like with our Terra chair,” said Cristofori. “It allows you to envision more complex shapes, because you don’t really have any limits.”

The dimensions of end-use wheel rims must be perfect, thus 3D prints can be used to verify assembly and final production methods, to adjust little by little in ensuring it is a sublimely accurate fit.

3D Printed Wheel Rim

“What we’ve developed here is a true-to-life model that can be powder coated,” Cristofori commented, in speaking about next steps with the design. “We are planning to Meta-Coat one of them, to see how it looks as a more final product with a highly professional effect.”

The team printed the wheel rim on the STUDIO 3D printer, which has a print volume of 500 mm x 1000 mm x 500 mm. Cristofori points out that a similar level of detail and precision is now possible on the BigRep ONE, with the new Power Extruder.

Printed using high-temperature-resistant filament PRO HT, the wheel rim is strong enough to withstand a range of tests. For more complex designs, printing with BigRep’s water-soluble support material PVA is also recommended. While not fully functional as wheel rims (which are usually cast in steel), the same design principles can be applied to hubcaps, which could be printed as end-use parts in plastic and then coated to achieve a metallic effect.

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In a similar vein to his work on the architectural model the Villa Ancora, and his colleague Florian Schärfer’s bionic propeller design, Cristofori wanted to show the potential that BigRep printing technology to create large-scale objects that achieve smooth lines, fluid form and high-level detail. For his next design project, Cristofori will be focusing on prototyping a few automotive parts to improve their aerodynamic properties – he is not giving too much away, but it may involve a wind tunnel!

As well as creating its own in-house solutions for testing and development, BigRep also works with customers to help them find custom automotive applications to solve their own specific business challenges. For more information, or to arrange a free consultation, click here.


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We embed videos from our official YouTube channel using YouTube’s privacy-enhanced mode. This mode may set cookies on your computer once you click on the YouTube video player, but YouTube will not store personally-identifiable cookie information for playbacks of embedded videos using the privacy-enhanced mode.
  • VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE
  • PREF
  • CONSENT
  • GPS
  • YSC

We track anonymized user information to improve our website.
  • GTM

This website uses ActiveCampaign (AC) as the designated CRM to track user interaction (trough trackcmp.net) AC cookies are necessaries but no IP or personal data will be saved if you don't convert on one of our forms (cookie visitorEmailAC). We use this to better understand how people interact with our site and to see their journey through the website.  
  • ac_enable_tracking
  • visitorEmailAC

Contains the current language of the admin and the user.
  • _icl_current_admin_language
  • _icl_current_language

Cookie required to allow a user to stay logged in to a web site without needing to submit their username and password for each page visited. Without this cookie, a user is unable to proceed to areas of the web site that require authenticated access.
  • PHPSESSID

These cookies are set by WordPress are used for indication and identification of the logged in user. Those are session cookies.
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec_
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wp-settings-
  • wp-settings-time-
  • utm_source
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_medium
  • handl_url
  • handl_landing_page
  • http_referrer

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