It would be a nightmare to ding these 3D printed titanium wheels

Complex and beautiful
by Vijay Pattni | May 26, 2019
PHOTO: TopGear.com

Ah, 3D printed wheels. I’ve seen this one before, right?

Sort of. HRE Wheels has revealed this second iteration of its lightly astonishing 3D printed titanium wheel, because it showed the first one back in November last year. Long story short, it’s still astonishing.

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What’s new this time around?

HRE has partnered up with GE Additive again, using the latter’s excellently named Direct Metal Laser Melting manufacturing system. That’s right, FRICKIN’ LASERS.

What it does it rather simple: lasers melt ultra-fine layers of titanium powder over each other to gradually build up “complex forms with extremely fine detail”. A cursory glance through this gallery will suggest that yes, it is very complex and curbs really aren’t your friend.

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How else do these wheels materialize?

Electron Beam Melting, which is a more refined version of the system used to make the first of HRE’s titanium wheel. A beam of electrons is deployed to heat and fuse raw materials in a vacuum.

They look light. Are they?

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Lighter than the first gen HRE wheels, and yes, really very light. Those first ones weighed in at 20lbs and 23lbs for the 20in and 21in wheels, but these new, second-gen versions weigh just 16lbs and 19lbs across the same sizes.

And, where the first gen wheel consisted of six 3D printed parts, this new one—thanks to a redesigned center area—consists of only five.

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You’re getting awfully excited over a wheel.

Just look at the thing! It’s nuts! Yes, it’ll take an eternity to clean, and you probably wouldn’t dare drive it anywhere where there are curbs, or narrow roads, or crisp wrappers, or anything standing more than 1cm high across a five mile radius…

… but as a work of engineering and art, yeah.

That purple Ford GT though.

Yes. A purple Ford GT. Doesn’t it look absolutely spectacular? And on those wheels.

NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: TopGear.com
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