The shape of things to come: 3D-printed Morlaco heralds a revolution in specials building

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This Fireblade-powered, ‘funny-front-end’ superbike has become one of the very first to have its bodywork and other components produced by 3D printing technology.

Dubbed the Morlaco, it’s the latest project from Bottpower, a small, high-tech motorsport engineering firm in Valencia. Now nearing completion, it has just been fitted with a tank, seat unit, front mudguard and more all made using 3D printing.

Use of the process, which builds up material ranging from polymers to titanium into complex shapes and until now largely the preserve of rapid prototyping, could revolutionise short-run bike design and manufacture.

Morlaco 3D printed seat and subframe

A key part of the project, Bottpower’s David Sanchez says, was to use as advanced technology as possible, which is why they turned to 3D printing. With help from specialists Optimus 3D, the tank, airbox, air intakes, seat/subframe and even intricate screen brackets have now all been made using the computer-controlled method.

The finished machine, due summer 2020, could be revolutionary, not just in terms of lightness and minimalist design but in terms of the way especially short-run or one-off bikes are designed and built.

Sanchez added: "Using the traditional method of building a bike like this, which would be to do a design, make a mould, make parts from the mould and so on, is a long process and really expensive for a small operation. For doing just one unit this is much faster because you design it on a computer, send the file and then, in four days you have the parts."

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