The wheel seen here is HRE's second generation of the HRE3D+. The first version was released in November, 2018, with the claimed title of the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheel. The HRE3D+V2, as we'll call it, takes everything learned from the first model and improves upon it.
HRE called upon GE Additive for two unique manufacturing processes, Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM). DMLM melts extremely fine layers of titanium powder on top of each other to create structures. EBM, which was used on HRE3D+V1, uses a concentrated beam of electrons to melt and join raw metals within a vacuum. These wheels are not simply melted into their final form, however. Several steps of removing the powder, removing structural supports within the 3D parts, machine finishing, hand finishing, and cleaning are required to complete the end result. According to HRE, the refined process of the HRE3D+V2 cuts down raw titanium material waste from 80 percent to five percent.
The new wheel is also lighter. Whereas 20- and 21-inch HRE3D+ wheels weighed 20 and 23 pounds, the HRE3D+V2 wheels weigh 16 and 19 pounds. The first wheels were built from six parts and a carbon fiber barrel, but the new wheel has a redesigned center area and uses only five printed parts that again join a carbon fiber barrel.
To show off the new design, HRE put the fresh model on a gorgeous 2019 Ford GT. The wheels debuted this week at GE Additive's booth at RAPID + TCT 2019 in Detroit. See how the melting processes work in the feature video below.