It is not often that a manufacturing company gets its own reality TV show. However, that is exactly what happened to Orange County Choppers (OCC), a company located in Orange County, New York, that builds custom motorcycles (known as “choppers” in the motorcycle world). OCC is legendary for building bikes around a specific theme, such as the Fire Bike, which commemorated the New York firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
One of their recent requests for a custom bike came from a client in China who wanted a golden dragon-themed chopper.
While the entire design was certainly demanding, one element, the dragon’s head, was especially challenging. It was particularly important to the OCC team that the head of the dragon express character, emotion, and anger.
Accomplishing this required a tremendous amount of detail in the design of the dragon head. In order to achieve the required degree of detail, within a reasonable budget and timeframe, the OCC designers felt they had only one choice – 3D print the dragon head on their Stratasys Fortus 400mc 3D Printer.
Traditionally, building custom motorcycle parts was done with CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines. However, over the past few years, Orange County Choppers has been producing more and more of the custom parts by 3D printing them.
They feel that the 3D printed parts are just as strong as some of the aluminum pieces they use. In comparison with CNC machines, using 3D printing eliminates design and production limitations, allowing a chopper with a golden dragon head to be “just another design.”
OCC Senior Designer and graphic artist Jason Pohl sums it up very clearly: “The possibilities with the Stratasys Fortus 3D Printer are endless. Right now there is nothing stopping our creative minds from just making the coolest bikes in the world."
Check out our case study for more details on how this dragon was brought to life.