High-Performance Electric Motorcycle Features Rapid Manufactured Components

When San Francisco based company Mission Motors sought to push the envelope of high-performance motorcycle design, we partnered with their designers and engineers to create custom-designed, 3D-printed solutions to empower their creativity. Their dream was to create an electric motorcycle that featured an electric powertrain, custom integrated chassis and controls for superior handling, and improved AC induction motor to improve performance while staying true to its green origins.

“We had to move fast to be first in what we thought would soon be a hot field—the intersection of motorsports and green technology,” stated Mission Motors cofounder Edward West. In order to stay at the forefront of green high-performance innovation, Mission Motors needed to utilize manufacturing methods that were fast, while still enabling them the freedom to push the limits of their creativity.


motorcycle

“The dash had several really complex design elements that would have been almost impossible to replicate through any other method of production, including machining the part out of metal or plastic."


The high-performance motorcycle, named the Mission One R superbike, features a number of complex design elements. While typical racing motorcycles have multiple components that comprise the subframe, dash, and conduits—those additional mechanisms add both weight and size. In order to streamline the bike, the motorcycle’s design required an integration of the dashboard, sub-frame, bases for the LCD dash display and data acquisition unit, conduits, and mount for the front fairing into one compact, integrated structure. Unfortunately, this design would be virtually impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing processes. That’s where we came in.

“Mission Motors relied on rapid-manufacturing services from our Valencia, California office to build a fully-functional front subframe and dashboard as a single part out of glass-filled nylon using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS),” explained West. “The dash had several really complex design elements that would have been almost impossible to replicate through any other method of production, including machining the part out of metal or plastic.”

As the team at Mission quickly learned, the beauty of SLS is the design freedom that the technology allows. SLS 3D printing technology builds parts out of powdered Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 materials. A laser selectively heats and fuses the powder, growing the part one layer at a time from the bottom up. SLS parts are encased by un-sintered powder as they are built, allowing for intricate and complex features to be created without bulky support structures. As a result, designs previously deemed impossible to manufacture are now being created with our SLS technology.

Selecting SLS technology to build the fully functional integrated dash for their new electric motorcycle allowed Mission Motors to realize the full benefits of SLS and create a dashboard that would fit directly onto the bike. Traditional CNC machining would not have been able to achieve the complex inner structures that were easily created with SLS.

The gorgeous superbike isn’t just easy on the eyes and the environment, the Mission One R is also a successful all-electric motorcycle that is considered a high-performance racing bike reaching speeds of 160+ mph in a single gear. The Mission One R won the 2011 FIM/TTXGP US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca and finished a whopping 39.9 seconds ahead of the second-place bike and crushed previous electric vehicle records at Laguna Seca.

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