From CAD to Creation – Making a new motorcycle blinker using Topology Optimization

June 19, 2018

When you’re a mechanical engineer, and you have access to great CAD & a cutting-edge 3D printer, how do you fix the busted blinker on your motorcycle?

Using new Topology Optimization features in NX of course! Includes a walkthrough tutorial of using Topology Optimization in NX CAD.



When he bought the bike, the front right blinker was broken after it smacked into a branch. He knew from the original owner the part broke often, and so making the part himself was a combination of both fun & held some cost savings. It was also a good opportunity to add some personality to his bike.

He took the broken blinker and gathered core critical dimensions from it. He built the CAD in NX 12 and figured Topology Optimization was a good fit to improve the design, reduce the weight, and improve the strength. Because of the nature of Additive Manufacturing, he figured the flexibility of 3D printing could make up for its reduced material strength.

Using a Carbon M2, he printed the part in a few iterations, improving upon the design each time. The M2 prints from a resin tank without interruption using a DLS process, making parts similar to traditional injection molding.

After an unfortunate safety laydown of the motorcycle, the blinker broke. This time our in-house CAD specialist took a crack at the design, and prepared this handy walkthrough tutorial on the process.

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