Sinterit: Electric Motorcycle with SLS 3D printed parts
E-moto AGH is a team of students from AGH University of Science and Technology who built the first electric off-road motorcycle at the University. In addition to showing the advantages of alternative energy sources, they are also testing the newest solutions, like desktop SLS 3D printer Lisa Pro. Most of their construction work takes place at the university’s lab
Basement of B2 Building in the middle of AGH campus is filled with industrial machines.
The workshop hall is the place where we spend most of our time – says Dawid Sieńko, team leader. In this project, we are building electric motorcycles. As for now, we built two of them: eight and thirty kilowatt – ads Sieńko.
The main idea behind the project is to promote electromobility. Team E-moto AGH is building their motorcycles from the beginning to the end. A lot of parts are made manually, for example using a mold lined with carbon fiber and placed in a vacuum bag. Others are machined with a specialized tool. But some needed to be 3D printed. Team is using several printers, mostly FDM type. But there was a special task which required SLS 3D printer.
We needed to print radiator housing, and SLS technology was the best choice, as the printouts are more durable. We can also expect some parameters to be more predictable, compared to FDM technology – says Jakub Sobański. – When we consider durability, there is no strength gradient. The wide range of powders is also important – he adds.
E-moto AGH used to this job Sinterit Lisa Pro. One of the advantages of SLS technology is that you can print very complicated designs. In this case, the housing was based on honeycomb structure. Air deflectors were designed to prevent the radiator to be mud stuck or destroyed by gravel.
The printout was so good, and elastic, that even though the motorcycle fell a few times, the part part has not been damaged – concludes Jakub Sobański.
Photo: Andrzej Rusinowski / KSAF
Is SLS 3D printing accessible?
There are two types of SLS 3D printers on the market: industrial and benchtop SLS printers.The main difference is the print volume, automatization of the process and the material range. The benchtop ones are ideal for academic research, rapid prototyping and even small serial production. The true potential of SLS lies in the new materials with tailored-fit properties (conductivity, heat-resistance, water-repellant, you name it!). But most of all, benchtop SLS 3D printers are several times less expensive.
Equipped with SLS 3D printers like Sinterit Lisa Pro, students from AGH could not only print functional parts needed for Smart Moto Challenge in Barcelona but they also learned how to get the most out of such advanced 3D printing technology as selective laser sintering (SLS).
Choosing a printer is also connected with the choice of material. Selecting Sinterit Lisa Pro we took into considerations the maximum coolant temperature which is 60 degrees Celsius. PA12 powder, the basic one for SLS 3D printers seemed the best for our needs – adds Jakub Sobański.
Having SLS 3D printer on board is very much desired by R&D departments. This is because SLS technology goes far beyond prototyping, or even functional prototyping. The quality and durability of printouts makes it good as a final parts as well, at least in some circumstances.
Smart Moto Challenge in Barcelona
E-moto AGH team used 3D printed radiator housings as a final part of their motorcycle and took it for Smart Moto Challenge in Barcelona.
The contest, organized for eight years in a row, gathers teams from different countries to compete in various categories. Each team plays the role of a motorcycle manufacturer who should launch their motorcycle within three years. The Commission verifies each project in static and dynamic categories. Static categories begin by completing all documentation, and preparing a business plan. When it is done, the motorcycle begins to undergo individual tests, such as raintest, checking weight, lights and brakes. Then the dynamic categories begins. The motorcycle has to drive several special stages during which acceleration, time lap or endurance ride are tested.
Both motorcycles built by E-Moto AGH team passed all of the testes. Now students are working on the new version of it, for the next year’s edition of the competition.
Prototyping for automotive industry needs precise, durable and repeatable technology. This is why selective laser sintering (SLS) is the first choice of many R&D teams and manufacturers. It is dependable and now also accessible for small and medium companies, universities and schools.
Especially technical universities play a very important role, as a creativity hubs and basecamps for the future engineers and inventors. Having workshops equipped with the best in class tools and machines, they give students the opportunity to learn and discover the high-tech technology.