HRE & # 39; s newest wheel looks like it shouldn't exist. It has overlapping pass-throughs, has absurd corners, looks just as fragile as a pretzel and is lighter than an average passenger car tire. Made from carbon fiber and titanium, it is one of the most advanced wheels ever made, and it is only possible through additive production.
The wheel shown here is the second generation of the HRE3D + from HRE. The first version was released in November 2018, with the claimed title of & # 39; the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheel. The HRE3D + V2, as we will call it, takes everything learned from the first model and improves it.
HRE called on GE Additive for two unique production processes, Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM). DMLM melts extremely fine layers of titanium powder together to form structures. EBM, which was used on HRE3D + V1, uses a concentrated electron beam to melt and unite raw metals in a vacuum. However, these wheels are not simply melted into their final shape. Various steps for removing the powder, removing structural supports in the 3D parts, machining, manual finishing and cleaning are required to complete the end result. According to HRE, the refined process of the HRE3D + V2 reduces the raw waste of titanium material from 80 percent to five percent.
The new wheel is also lighter. While the 20 and 21-inch HRE3D + wheels weighed 20 and 23 pounds, the HRE3D + V2 wheels weigh 16 and 19 pounds. The first wheels were made up of six parts and a carbon fiber barrel, but the new wheel has a newly designed central area and uses only five printed parts that connect to a carbon fiber barrel.
To show off the new design, HRE placed the new model on a beautiful 2019 Ford GT. The wheels debuted this week at the GE Additive stand at RAPID + TCT 2019 in Detroit. See how the melting processes work in the feature video below.