In this post I will detail the options that I have identified for creating my custom Antweight wheels. These are:
- Hub + Bonded Grip
- Hub + Moulded Tyre
- Hub + Printed Tyre
- Hub and Tyre Printed
The hub can either be created by additive manufacturing or machined.
Hub + Bonded Grip
This is the simplest method (described here) for creating custom wheels. The grip is bonded to the hub, and can be anything from sticky lint roller to cricket bat grip.
Hub + Moulded Tyre
Silicon rubber (http://www.benam.co.uk/products/silicone/addition/dragon-skin/) can be moulded and then bonded to a hub. The mould can be additive manufactured to allow tread patterns (but you are limited to shapes that you can extract from the mould). I think it would be good practice to make the tyre inner diameter slightly smaller (or size for size) to allow a nice tight fit. Bonding the interface between the hub and tyre could prove tricky, the correct adhesive would have to be found).
Hub + Printed Tyre
Similar to the moulded tyre but instead it is printed from a rubber (like) material, e.g. the rubber like material from materialise (http://i.materialise.com/materials/rubber-like). This allows for more intricate tread patterns; as with the moulded tyre it would be best to make it undersized.
Hub and Tyre Printed
Utilizing multi-material additive manufacturing, the hub and tyre can be printed in one operation. An example process would be using VeroWhitePlus and TangoBlackPlus on an Objet Connex machine, starting off with the VeroWhitePlus with the hub and gradually transitioning to the TangoBlackPlus to make a seemless one part wheel. This has a few advantage, there would be no bonding and the resolution is finer than the materialise process which would allow for finer tread details.
However I have received an estimate of £125 per wheel…
I am going to go for the ‘Hub + Printed Tyre’ approach as the ‘Hub and Tyre Printed’ is too expensive. I am sure it will take a few attempts to get to a suitable method, but I will try and show all the lessons learnt.