In November last year, one of the leading aftermarket makers of wheels, HRE, introduced its HRE3D+ series of titanium 3D-printed wheels developed in cooperation with GE Additive. Now, the two companies are back with a revised version of the wheels and are showcasing the result on a stunning purple 2019 Ford GT.
HRE explains it gained access to two 3D printing manufacturing systems thanks to GE Additive and had the time to experiment for the second generation of the wheels. The process of building them includes laser technology to melt ultra-fine layers of titanium powder on top of each other to gradually build complex forms and then there’s a refinement process.
Gallery: HRE3D+ wheels
For the new series of 3D-printed wheels, HRE has managed to drastically reduce the overall materials waste from about 80 percent previously to just five percent now. In addition, the finished wheel is “significantly lighter” than before. In this case, significantly means up to four pounds – a 20-inch wheel from the first-gen HRE3D+ weighs about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) versus 16 pounds (7 kilograms) for the second generation.
The previous 3D-printed wheels from the company consisted of six parts whereas the new ones have five printed sections. That’s possible thanks to a redesigned center area. Of course, the wheels are designed to minimize the unsprung masses and rotational inertia.
“We’re proud to be breaking new ground in wheel manufacturing with the updated HRE3D+ wheels,” HRE President and CEO, Alan Peltier, comments. “Working with GE Additive has given us access to some truly cutting-edge technology, and we’re exploring the future of wheel technology together with tools that will continue to evolve over the next few years. We can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish next.”