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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > BIMMERPOST Universal Forums > General Automotive (non-BMW) Talk + Photos/Videos > HRE3D+ | The WORLDS FIRST 3D-Printed Titanium Wheel
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      01-17-2019, 02:46 PM   #111
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Some of the comments in here are wonderfully entertaining, both intentionally so and some not so much...

Background: I'm a mechanical engineer (stress analyst) in the aerospace industry (propulsion engines - not GE) with a fair amount of AM experience.

First off, AM for metals in mass production is literally decades away from being mainstream. Never do I think I will live to see the day where anything imaginable is quickly printed in metal, or mail-order CAD file parts are a thing. There's simply a whole lot of labor and post-process steps involved to fully execute a design which are not obvious to the general public. The video above (good job with the details there) does a nice job of outlining some of the steps required for metals, but even then it leaves off a fair bit of detail. Notably, in today's world there is a fair amount of work involved to get a successful build (good print). Usually this requires a bit of experimentation and a non-trivial amount of trial/error. Once you get the process established, you're good to go - but you might spend literally months of time to get there.

Because of the process steps involved, the cost of a product like this (in today's current market) are pretty astronomical. I can confidently say that you are looking at here is a 5-figure price tag PER wheel. Yes, there are steps that could be taken to reduce the costs significantly from this initial prototype, but don't expect a full set of AM wheels to cost any less than 60k (USD) anytime in the next decade.

Creating a self-supporting spoke design would easily reduce some cost. So would having a machine large enough to print the whole face design, but Arcam doesn't currently make a machine big enough for that (and I don't know who else makes proven/quality EBM machines, if anyone). EOS or Concept Laser makes a few machines which could do it one shot, but then that would be a laser process as opposed to a EB process which would increase the print time (and time=money, of course). HIP'ing is something the industry is on the fence about - it is not always necessary with some alloys but everyone is too afraid to eliminate it just yet.

All that said, knowing what I know I would take a set of these now and drive them on a track without concern. Provided, of course, I could somehow magically afford them.
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      01-17-2019, 03:37 PM   #112
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These wheels are beyond epic!
HRE is always innovating. Love it!
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      01-21-2019, 11:29 AM   #113
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Thank you all for your comments and support! This has certainly become one of the coolest projects we've ever been a part of so we're glad you love it too!
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