3D printing has aided the automotive industry tremendously over the past decade or so, transforming design, prototyping and end-use part production for auto companies across the globe. BigRep, a company which produces large-scale 3D printers, recently tapped into the potential of additive manufacturing for the automotive industry with the successful 3D printing of a functional wheel rim.

Marco Mattia Cristofori came up with this idea in order to adequately display the industrial capabilities of BigRep’s 3D printers with an eye-catching, creative design. The wheel rim features a much more creative design than traditional wheel rims and hubcaps. While the traditional method of producing the rim would be to use a CNC machine, Cristofori used a large-scale BigRep 3D printer to produce it – saving costs and time tremendously. \

“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.”

BigRep: 3D Printers made for large-scale production

Cristofori developed a complex design for the rim which was meant to replicate the look of a flower. Multiple Y-shapes interlock in this design, creating an eye-catching look while also increasing the rim’s stability. The BigRep STUDIO 3D printer – A 3D printer designed to provide a smaller version of the BigRep ONE 3D printer – was used to produce this intricately designed rim. In her article discussing the rim, Clare Scott of 3DPrint.com provides:

According to Cristofori, however, a similar level of detail and precision is also possible on the BigRep ONE thanks to the new Power Extruder. The rim was 3D printed using the high temperature resistant filament PRO HT, making it strong enough to withstand a variety of tests.

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


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