A worn valve cap in the middle of an Icelandic desert, a broken gear lever in the depths of a Brazilian jungle or a split oil sump in the hamada: problems like these can lead to a lengthy interruption or even the end of a motorcycle tour.
Which is why BMW Motorrad has come up with iParts 3D mobile printer to printout spare parts on the go. Smaller parts such as handbrake, clutch or gear levers, valve caps, fork bridges and even the turn indicator glasses can be printed out by the customers themselves. The printer is housed in a specially developed CFRP case which is around 4.5 kg lighter compared to a conventional case. The power supply has been integrated into the case as well.
The design data and material specifications required for printing purposes are supplied from the BMW iCloud. The data can be downloaded onto the 3D printing system via mobile phone, tablet or a PC. If there’s no internet connection available, the optional iParts Explorer enables a selection of potentially required spare parts data to be saved directly on the smartphone before setting off on the journey.
In addition to creating parts from metals such as aluminium, steel and titanium, the iParts 3D printer can printout plastic parts pretty fast. This means that a turn indicator glass can quickly be replaced with a print-out version. It is even possible to replace a cracked rear mirror using the iParts 3D printer, the company said.
The iParts 3D Mobile Printer was recently exposed to extreme conditions in the Australian outback. Even at peak temperatures of over 48 degrees Celsius and with high volumes of dust, the replicated parts matched their conventionally manufactured counterparts in all respects, the company added.
A select 250 BMW Motorrad sales partners worldwide will be initially fitted with a permanently installed High-performance 3D printing system. This system, which includes an integrated processing centre, allows manufacturing of large and complex parts such as bevel gears, crown gears and engine housings. The new system will mean that even very rarely required parts which are not generally stocked by BMW Motorrad sales partners can be supplied on a just-in-time basis.