Another leap forward for 3D printing

Charge Bikes and EADS work together to create 3D printed titanium bicycle parts.

The finished titanium dropout connects the frame to the rear wheel

The finished titanium dropout connects the frame to the rear wheel

At the start of the year we were getting quite excited about 3D printing and what it could mean for us, especially with products such as the Makerbot.

Well, although 3D printing is still a way off from being as commonplace as the laser printer, we are already starting to see new ways of printing items that are very familiar to us already.

Working in partnership with EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space) in Bristol, UK bike brand Charge Bikes have developed the first ever production printed Titanium bicycle parts and are producing a very limited run of 50 Ti Freezer disk specific Cyclocross frames for the component.

Usually parts like this would be manufactured out of a factory in Taiwan, but instead these were made in a high-tech machine in south-west England.

By fusing layer upon layer of titanium powder this technology allows the designers to produce components that are impossible with conventional machinery. Another key benefit is wastage, Andy Hawkins from EADS Innovation Works explains, “with this process we’re only actually putting the material in that we buy.”

Check out the video below to find out how the process works and see the part being used on some rather muddy terrain.

It’ll be exciting to see what the next six months bring…

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