I believe wheels can make or break a car. For me, they have to match the look of the era of the car, what it’s going to be used for, and be not too shouty but not too underwhelming. I’m picky with my wheels, and I know for a fact you are too.
But these have got me speechless. They’re made by HRE Wheels and GE Additive, and are the first ever titanium 3D printed wheels. And as you can see, they’re on quite the test subject – a McLaren P1.
This wheel you’re seeing now is a result of /additive manufacturing’. It’s printed in five separate pieces which eventually make up the design of the spokes. These pieces are fixed onto a custom hub and a rim made of carbon fibre. It’s complex, but means almost any design can be produced. Your imagination (and budget) is the limit.
While the price of the production of these wheels hasn’t been revealed, these wheels aren’t to sell. They are simply to show the limitless possibilities of 3D printing in the motoring industry. For now, the finish is slightly questionable, but with more research into this style of manufacturing, a good finish isn’t far off. And it’s certainly a manufacturing process that we should be taking interest.
The reason being is simply the amount of metal this process saves. Usually a wheel is cut from a block of steel or aluminium, and this means there’s plenty of waste – 80% of the block is wasted. With 3D printing, only 5% of that full block would be waste.
So, do you like it? I’m split, but who says the 3D-printed designs have to always be so crazy?