A 3D-printed car can’t be that far away into the future

HRE Wheels presents the first-ever titanium 3D-printed rims. Named HRE3D+, the rims are the result of a joint project with GE AddWorks and were made to showcase the possibilities available when additive manufacturing is employed to create state-of-the-art car wheels.

Gone are the days of alloy wheels. Even magnesium wheels seem antiquated now that HRE and GE have come forth with a prototype 3D-printed rim made out of titanium. The process of making these wheels is complicated, but the results are astonishing. Basically, you can’t get such a design using a traditional CNC machine.

Titanium wheels? Where do we sign up?!

The New 3D-Printed Wheels From HRE Have Us Drooling With Anticipation
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Forget what you knew about machining titanium. Now, using Electro-Beam Melting (EBM) 3D-printing technology, you can create intricate designs like this one of the HRE3D+ using titanium.

Two 3D-printing machines are used in the process.

"This is an incredibly exciting and important project for us as we get a glimpse into what the future of wheel design holds," said HRE President Alan Peltier in a statement. "Working with GE Additive’s AddWorks team gave us access to the latest additive technology and an amazing team of engineers, allowing us to push the boundaries of wheel design beyond anything possible with current methods. To HRE, this partnership with GE Additive moves us into the future."

The New 3D-Printed Wheels From HRE Have Us Drooling With Anticipation
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The process of creating such a wheel starts off with a block of titanium that’s melted layer by layer using the electron beam.

Then, the resulting five main elements are put back together with a custom center section and titanium fasteners.

HRE says that, in the case of a normal aluminum alloy wheel, "80% of the material is removed from a 100-pound forged block of aluminum to create the final product." On the other hand, "with additive manufacturing, only 5% of the material is removed and recycled, making the process far more efficient." Titanium is also tougher than aluminum or magnesium, isn’t affected by corrosion, and is very light.

"HRE prides itself on its commitment to excellence and superior quality in the marketplace. It was a natural fit for AddWorks to work on this project with them and really revolutionize the way wheels can be designed and manufactured," said Robert Hanet, senior design engineer at GE Additive AddWorks quoted in the same statement.

The New 3D-Printed Wheels From HRE Have Us Drooling With Anticipation
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The wheel manufacturer pointed out that, in the near future, building the whole wheel at once will be plausible which will further reduce the production time as well as costs. This will open the doors to a whole world of 3D-printed titanium wheels - and maybe other exotic metals.

The prototype HRE3D+ wheel will be at HRE's stand as the company will take part between November 13th and 16th at the FormNext trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Source: HRE

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