Now you can 3D print an entire bike frame

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Now you can 3D print an entire bike frame

Postby Ross » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:28 am ... bike-frame

In a workshop in Silicon Valley, the startup Arevo is 3D printing samples of its first generation of bikes. A custom robot prints the company’s carbon fiber-embedded material using a process that can print in all dimensions, rather than just building layers like a standard 3D-printer–making it strong enough to print large objects like bikes or parts of an airplane. (The company plans to make a variety of industrial components, but chose to start with bikes to demonstrate its technology.)

Since the robot does all the work, there are no labor costs, it’s feasible to manufacture in the U.S. or Europe and avoid the carbon footprint of shipping bike componets across the ocean. The manufacturing process also has a lower environmental footprint. Right now, most carbon fiber bikes are made in a high-energy process that involves baking the frame in a huge oven for hours or days.

“The beauty of 3D printing is you can build something with the economics of one unit, because there’s no tooling required,” says Miller. “Not only can we tailor the size, but we can also tailor the ride characteristics, too. Some people want a harder bike or a stiffer bike; some people want a softer, more compliant bike. Because that’s all software controlled, ultimately, we just dial that into the software recipe and then we print that particular recipe out.”



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Re: Now you can 3D print an entire bike frame

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:38 am

Thanks for sharing - my natural though is the engineering construction. Where carbon fiber can be constructed in the frame design, material selection and layup to define the characteristics - for 3D printing a frame, the material is more consistent so the frame characteristics are managed in the design where thickness and construction (e.g. ribbing) is used.

Like carbon fiber there will still be a long learning curve. The material is thermoplastic embedded with carbon fiber which I understand to be similar to the soles of many cycling shoes which are nylon carbon fiber composites - so small carbon fiber particles are mixed in which is different from a carbon fiber sheet.

Strength is added but the material itself does not specifically lend the characteristics like flex and stiffness in different directions as carbon fiber is able to.

The individualisation is the trait that they have to push - it also comes with a price tag because 3D printing is not typically a mass production affair. It is fascinating seeing how material and manufacturing is developing especially as removing labour can make production viable directly in the markets where the consumers are, rather than in Asia with the lower cost labor.

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Re: Now you can 3D print an entire bike frame

Postby Mububban » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:13 am

3D printing will change the future of manufacturing.

Hopefully one of the changes will be making that bike less fugly :D
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