Here’s how it works. The wheel was created from titanium powder and a type of 3D printing called electron beam melting. An electron beam generates heat, which is used to form the powder into metal structures in a vacuum. Titanium likes to react with oxygen, so the vacuum bit is especially important. This technology can make more than wheels — it’s being investigated for use in medical-implant and aerospace manufacturing, as well.
HRE and GE Additive created the wheel in five distinct sections comprising the face of the wheel. Those five pieces were combined with a custom center section, all of which was eventually bolted to a carbon-fiber wheel rim using titanium fasteners. Some machining is still required, since its precision is unmatched and components like bolt holes need to be engineered to perfection.