The world marveled when the crew of the USS Enterprise used a replicator machine to create solid objects seemingly out of thin air in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The year was 1988 and the device seemed like something that could only exist in science fiction. But at that point, we already had real-life technology that could do more or less the same.
Today, we commonly call these machines 3D printers. Over the past decade, they’ve advanced from clunky things that could barely make rough prototypes into full-fledged production powerhouses. More and more industries are scrambling to use them, and motorcycle production is no different.
It’s no wonder that 3D printers are so popular. Motorcycle manufacturers can use them to make lighter and more durable parts at a much lower price point. A 3D printer can even make dirt-cheap spare parts for bikes that have been out of production for decades.
But the best part is that the machines aren’t just for heavy-duty factories. With a bit of practice, any rider could start 3D printing bike accessories and parts at home. You can make your own, fully customized parts in your garage—how about that?