As incredible as 3D printing is or may become, artistically, some people have a distaste for 3D printed items. They say that 3D printing poorly replaces hand craftsmanship and that 3D printing has no soul.
But can the two mediums be successfully tied together to arrive at a mechanical piece of art? Well, the Fuller Moto 2029 may have just demonstrated that it is indeed possible. Fuller’s hand craftsmanship and use of titanium 3D printing have resulted in a flowing, art deco, electric motorcycle masterpiece.
Modern Art Deco Design
Brian Fuller of Fuller Moto used the 1929 art deco Majestic motorcycle as the inspiration for his handcrafted and titanium 3D printed Fuller Moto 2029. The Majestic was a very unique machine for its time. Shaped like a slimmed streamlined torpedo, it had features that few motorcycles had at the time.
Old Tech Combines With New
For example, it used hub centered steering and a sliding pillar suspension. The hub center steering design was previously used in the Ner-A-Car, briefly in the Bimota Tesi and of course the Majestic. Now, the 2029 incorporates this trick design from bikes designed and built in the late 1920s. In fact, the hub center steering setup used on the 2029 was taken from a donor Bimota Tesi.
Brian Fuller fully embraced these design elements and added many of his own to develop the 2029. Working with a number of artists, craftsman, and designers, Fuller came up with his handcrafted and 3D printed 2029.
Fuller believes that 3D printing is not that far from traditional methods. He was quoted as saying:
3D printing is a lot like TIG welding, only a really fine layer at a time.”
Using CAD designs developed in house and with the assistance from renowned movie concept artist Nick Pugh, 3D printing specialist Oerlikon turned the designs into strong, lightweight titanium metal parts.
The use of 3D printing permitted shapes that would be very difficult, if not impossible to handcraft. The intricate shapes required of the front stabilizer arm placed outside of the front swingarm and the steering plate and heim joint mounted to the front hub are good examples.
Traditional Build Techniques
For the exterior of the bike, the 2029’s initial outline was created by using 1/4″ steel rods welded together and bolted to the bike’s aluminum chassis.
Using the rods as an outline pattern, the 2029’s completely enclosed aluminum body was made traditionally. Fuller used chipboard forms as templates to make individual pieces. Aluminum 3003-H14 sheets were then hand pounded into the sleek aluminum bodywork.
Other parts of the bike were created with a combination of mechanical and handcrafting. The shark gill-like panels around the fender areas were created using a Pullmax die and cut on a MultiCam CNC WaterJet machine with Fuller shaping the “gills” in front of the wheel.
The “gills” act as diffusers to the air flowing through the body panels. They are claimed to help reduce aero drag on the machine.
Since the bike used cutting edge technology for much of the metal, Fuller decided to incorporate an electric powertrain. To do so, he scavenged the motor and batteries from a Zero FXS.
Unfortunately, the scavenged Zero powertrain was not an immediate fit. The motor sat too low and the batteries too high in the chassis. So the chassis was flipped upside down for a better fit. Then, the batteries were modified so they sat low in the chassis and the motor line up with the bike’s tall 23″ clear polycarbonate centered wheels.
With the powertrain now snugly and efficiently contained in the chassis, other less mechanically important elements could be addressed. Fuller used blue highlights inside the bodywork and on the gills to provide color to an otherwise all silver design.
The 2029’s blue paint is inspired by the original Majestic’s blue paint. It not only provides some color to the machine but is a nice tribute to the bike that provided the 2029’s inspiration.
Change Is Coming
When all is said and done, the Fuller Moto 2029 is a very unique design. It’s unconventional styling, 3D printed components using innovative and traditional methods provides a look not only into the past but into the future as well.
While the building of custom motorcycles is quite established, the 2029 may be the impetus to bring some change. As technology continues to advance, traditional techniques may be supplemented or replaced. The Fuller Moto 2029 is a machine that seems to have melded both traditional and advanced technology building methods.
With new technology continuing to advance, it begs the question what’s next? Certainly, exciting times are ahead.