HRE Wheels and GE Additive have unveiled the world’s first 3D printed titanium wheel made using Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology.
EBM is an additive technology that uses an electron beam to melt and fuse fine layers of titanium powder into a solid.
According to HRE’s engineers, these fine layers are built up one at a time to create the full design. And all this takes place in vacuum and at high temperature.
The end result is a stress-relieved component with material properties better than cast, and with wrought-like material characteristics.
Known as ‘HRE3D+,’ the GE-HRE prototype shows what the future of wheel technology will bring and how advanced materials like titanium can be harnessed to create complex designs.
The engineers have used a traditional aluminum Monoblok wheel whereby 80% of material is removed from a 100-pound forged block of aluminum to create the final product.
The new process guaranteed that only 5% of the material was removed and recycled, making it far more efficient than previous technologies.
Because Titanium has excellent corrosion resistance, no additional powder-coat or clear-coat was necessary, resulting in the tops of the spokes being hand brushed to create a beautiful decorative finish.
The wheel was produced on two Arcam EBM machines – Q20 and a Q10 in five separate sections, then combined using a custom center section and bolted to a carbon fiber rim using titanium fasteners.
“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. “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.”
Image, video and content: HRE Wheels