Your Detailing Guy Is Gonna Be Pissed

All image credits: HRE
All image credits: HRE

If you’re at all into the aftermarket scene, then you’ve probably come across forged wheel company HRE at one point or another. HRE wheels are known for being lightweight and very, very expensive. The company is showing off a new version of its titanium wheels that use 3D printing as part of the manufacturing process—but all I can think about is how long it would take the clean the damn things.

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Oh, but silly me. The person who buys these HRE3D+ wheels for their car most certainly has a detailer on hand, they don’t do that themselves. And if that detailer charges by the hour, then how many hours will it be until he or she dies of old age? Because that seems like approximately how long it’ll take to polish these wheels, especially if you put them on a car that produces a lot of brake dust. There are four of them to do, after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they look really, really cool. They look a bit like skeletal, metallic orb webs, with many interesting shapes and patterns to take in. And on that purple Ford GT? They work, weirdly.

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They’re made using something called Direct Metal Laser Melting, in which lasers melt very fine titanium powder on top of itself to build a form, and Electron Beam Melting, a refining process where a beam of electrons heats and fuses raw materials in a vacuum, according to a press release.

It all sounds very science fiction and expensive, but the resulting 20- and 21-inch wheels weigh only 16 and 19 pounds respectively. That is super light.

No pricing accompanied this announcement, but when you consider that HRE’s other wheels can easily go for over $2,000 each, then you can probably assume that these way more expensive than that.

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I’ll take one (1). Just one.

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Update 9:46 p.m. EST: An HRE spokesperson provided me with a few more high-res images of the wheels, since some of you were asking.

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DISCUSSION

By
marimvibe, new packaging, same great taste

I’d be curious of the weight of an equivalent forged titanium wheel. Additive usually works best with odd load paths or for really pushing what you can get for moment of inertia. Those benefits need to outweigh the hit on material properties; doesn’t seem like a wheel would be a good application. This just looks like it’s just an “ooh, 3D printing!” exercise.

I’m validating this with the fact that F1 wheels aren’t additively manufactured.