The frame of a Vespa is a thing of beauty, and producing one is relatively complicated. It's made from a series of steel stampings that are welded together (you can watch the process here). This is both time- and resource-intensive, even though the final welding is done by a CNC rig.
Stilride, an electric scooter startup from Sweden, is working on a more efficient production method for their offering, the SUSI. They've ruled out the methods of joining separate stamped parts, each of which would require its own production fixture, or welding tubes into a skeleton that would have body parts affixed to it. Instead they're hoping to take a single sheet of steel and fold it, like origami, to produce a frame with no waste. Once folded, the seams would then be welded.
The resultant aesthetic "creates a really defined design DNA," says industrial designer and Stilride founder Tue Beijer. Additionally, less waste would be generated, and less labor required. Here's what they're going for:
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Stilride is still in the prototyping stage, and hopes to have a production-ready version by 2022 or 2023.
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The prototype front wheel shown is quite interesting as well. I wonder if they're looking at fabricating the 'spokes' from sheet metal as well...
@KyleLamson: yes the front wheel is made out from one ”star-shaped” sheet pressed over a cone. It’s the only part not folded on the bike. The design turned out to be very strong. Here are some pictures showing the spokes and the wheel. BR/Tue
I've used the same idea (one piece folded to 3D shape) for my bicycle frame packs. I use a natural colored (no color) coroplast material. Lightweight, strong. 15.7 liters of storage with a 3.5" wide cross section.
Thanks Core77 for a great article. About the wheels; yes, the spokes are made from sheet metal. After being cut into a star-shape, they are pressed over a cone. The spokes are the only part not folded on the bike. Sending over some pictures from the process. /T