This 3D-printed titanium wheel looks like Lego | Top Gear
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Sunday 4th December
Future Tech

This 3D-printed titanium wheel looks like Lego

Apparently this method allows for more complex designs. Kerbs are not your friend

Published: 14 Nov 2018
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This is a wheel. It is used on motor vehicles to allow forward motion. Functional, then. Often, humans like to fit unnecessarily big wheels onto their motor vehicles because, well, humans.

And if they want really complicated design patterns on their really big wheels? Step forward, HRE Wheels and GE Additive, who have unveiled a new titanium wheel using a form of 3D printing that, apparently, allows for more “complex designs”. Here’s the first one, resplendent on a McLaren P1.

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The companies state the inefficiencies of current aluminium wheel manufacture – where 80 per cent of the material from, say, a 100lb block of aluminium is discarded. This new method only removes 5 per cent of the block.

Plus, titanium is tough and lightweight. And this method called additive manufacturing shows the possibilities. The wheel was produced on a pair of EBM machines in five separate sections, and then combined with a custom middle bit and bolted to a carbon fibre rim with titanium fasteners.

Why so much effort over a wheel? Because it looks wild. And only a little bit like Lego. Whatever your complex design, always remember: kerbs are not welcoming road allies.

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