American Chopper Realizes Big Benefits with 3D Printed Dragon Chopper
(3D Printing Industry) Orange County Chopper (OCC) recently used 3D printing to design and produce a bike in the shape of a Chinese dragon. Outfitted with an S&S 100 cubic inch engine and a Rolling Thunder frame, the bike is street legal in China, the customer’s home.
Discovery’s American Chopper television series was inspired by this custom motorcycle producer in Orange Country, NY who is famous for building bikes around a theme.
Custom motorcycles, by their very nature, demand many intricate parts to carry the design theme forward. Most of these parts are produced in volumes of just one to achieve a truly unique bike. In the past, OCC primarily machined these parts from aluminum billets or high-density foam.
OCC has begun producing more and more parts for its custom bikes on an industrial grade 3D printer: the Fortus 400mc 3D Production System from Stratasys. OCC designed the dragon’s head in 3D Studio Max graphic design software with an incredible amount of detail, including finely stylized horns, teeth, eyelids, gums and nostrils.
“In the past, we would have cut the head out of high-density foam using at least a dozen setups to get all of the undercuts and angles,” he said. “We would have had to scale back the design in order to keep a lid on the time and cost required to manufacture the part.”
With the Fortus, graphics artist and designer Pohl designed the dragon’s head without worrying about how to produce it. To reduce the weight after that first iteration, Pohl created internal voids and printed another copy. The client loved the design, which Pohl created faster and at less expense than was possible with traditional methods.