3d printing is a term that refers to a process in which a three-dimensional object is created from a digital model. In the case of bicycles, the best business 3d printers can print models of bicycle frames and components as well as rider’s helmets, shoes, and gloves.
In the past few years, it has been found that 3d printing can be used to fabricate complex mechanical parts and metal structures. This technology has also led to new innovations in the medical (see: bladders) and dental sectors.
It’s not just the bicycles themselves that are being made with this technology. A company called FFF3D has started providing services for customizing 3d printed bikes for children with disabilities by adding features such as handlebars that can be adjusted or replaced with specific hand weighting attachments for riders with special needs.
Below is an alphabetical listing of 12 bikes that have the impeccable advantage of 3D printing.
Bikes Available in the Market
Arevo’s Bike Frame
Tracing its origins from Silicon Valley, Arevo has gradually developed an automated robot 3D printing avenue to design composite bicycle parts. The 3D printed frame, which originates from carbon fibers, is derived from a single run. After a few days of manufacture, the process was successful and took an average of 18 months to complete from the design process. Arevo partnered with Emery Bikes in the Emery One, becoming the first electric bike with a 3D printing carbon fiber frame.
3D Printed Bicycle
Atherton 3D Printed Bike
Finding its footing in producing mountain bikes made Atherton find its niche. It then partnered with Renishaw, the metal 3D printer in the UK, to produce bike rims. It is made out of titanium sleeves, and the connectors act as the binding factor of the cylindrical tubes that later form the two-wheeler frame. They also have four lasers printed from the RenAM 500Q machine. Not only does it save time, but it also allows Atherton to modify the sleeve design when the need arises by changing the CAD file and later implementing different designs.
Empire Cycles and Renishaw 3D Printed Bicycle Frame
The bike manufacturing company is located in North-West England and implements innovative ideas in modifying mountain bikers and downhillers. Empire Cycles came together with Renishaw to optimize the mountain bike design with the help of additive layering technology. With topology optimization, Renishaw mobilized the determination on the most viable area for material, making it easier to remove it from places with low stress with the design optimization on load-bearing. Consequently, the mountain bike finally reduced its frame weight by a whopping 33%. It is now stronger, lighter, with a fantastic 3D printed frame made of titanium alloy. Renishaw AM250 machine is attributed to its success.
3D Printed Bicycle
Specialized 3D Printed Bike Saddles
Specialized Bicycles is a renowned brand located in the United States that manufactures road, mountain, and even fitness bikes. Forming a joint partnership with the 3D printing manufacturer Carbon, it modified the saddle. The challenge from time memorial in manufacturing a saddle is formulating a specific part that can give the rider optimum performance while maintaining comfort and, most importantly, stability. Thanks to Carbon’s technology, Specialized Bicycles found a replacement of the traditional saddle made of foam. Thanks to its elastomeric nature, the new saddle structure is a lattice with no limitation like foam. Together with the synthesis technology on Carbon Digital Light Synthesis, the formulation implemented photopolymerization. It further enables riders to have a quick rebound phase, dispersing pressure and thus improving breathability.
Superstrata came into a joint agreement with Arevo in the design of the 3D-printed unibody bike. Ideally, 3D printed bicycle frames have several elements. Due to being glued and welded together, the downfall of this technology is that such bicycle frames have a high tendency to disengage. It happens especially under a lot of pressure. With the help of additive manufacturing, Superstrata implemented the use of carbon fiber. Consequently, it brought forth thermoplastics with better modification and high impact resistance while still having less weight. Additionally, Directed Energy Deposition (DED) has made it easier to achieve custom frames depending on the rider’s body type.
Urwahn Bikes came together with Schmolke Carbon specializing in the design of carbon fiber bicycle parts. Consequently, they developed the 3D printed bike frame for their racing counterparts. At first glance, you’ll observe the copper plating that is made of 3D printing. Additionally, the rear wheel has elastic suspension, which means the rider gets extra comforts while still maintaining the lower bracket stiffness. The aspect is a bonus, especially when riding on longer distances and also uneven surface areas. Comfort, especially across rough roads, greatly minimizes an accident risk as you have no distractions with discomfort for your body.
Volkswagen and Kinazo Electric Bike
The Kinazo e1 bike debuted in 2017 with the partnership of Kinazo and Volkswagen. Kinazo’s objective was to create an electric bicycle with an integrated battery system and a controlling system made possible with a mobile application. Moreover, they also intended it to have the flexibility of custom design—3D printing available option allowing custom bikes and the ability to produce the frame in one piece. Consequently, Kinazo approached Volkswagen that owned the largest 3D metal printer across the globe. Successfully, the bicycle was formulated with an aluminum prototype weighing on average 20 kilograms.
Vorteq manufacturing company founded in Britain formulated the WX-R track bicycle with the help of bicycle engineers from Worx. The main objective in implementing the project was to have the ability against air resistance. The company implemented 3D scanning technology, CFD analysis, CAD program, and Artec Leo technology. It later led to developing a high-performance bike with carbon fiber that has received two medals, two national records, three personal records, and setting an Asian record from the UCI Track World Championships at the beginning of 2020. That marked the foundation of having the track bicycle in the Olympic Games under sprint events.
3D Printed Bike Projects
3D Printed Arc Bike II
The MX3D manufacturing company located in Amsterdam developed the Arc Bike II with the help of Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) technology which is its niche. The 3D printing took production in a day with the help of Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology. It overtook its predecessor and became lighter as it is composed of aluminum instead of stainless steel. Additionally, it is also easier to customize the bicycle to adapt to the rider’s body form with the help of generative design software. While the bike is not for commercial use, it marks a fundamental role in demonstrating WAAM technology benefits.
BMW Balance Bike
If you’re wondering what a balance bike is, look no further. It is a bicycle that lacks pedals, gears, and even chains. Nevertheless, it plays a vital role in helping children learn the basic skill of balancing and staring. Renowned designer Roel van Heur, of Dutch origin, designed a model with the inspiration f a high-end BMW motorcycle.
Consequently, the frame, and the forks constituting the Balance Bike, were composed of stainless steel, which was later molded into shape and given a high-quality finish through hand brushing.
The bicycle also has other 3D printed parts like the fork sleeves and also a fake fuel tank. Even though the 3D printed bicycle is small and constitutes a personal project, it marks a significant milestone in the capabilities of 3D printed bikes.
Doctor Dennis Freiburg sealed his moment in history in 3D bicycle printing with the formulation of the lightest electrical bike across the globe in 2019. The design also saw him break the world Guinness record as it weighed less than 7 kilograms. It was made possible with the incorporation of 3D-printed bicycle parts. The renowned mechanical engineer set the foundation with a model chassis weighing less than 1kg and later mounted the breaks through the bike rim.
Other bike parts that underwent additive manufacturing include the pedals and also the brake calipers. Additionally, the German engineer also managed to convert the primary engine into a friction motor system with the support of the rear wheel. Eventually, the bicycle could hit a maximum speed of 48 km/h.
3D Printed Bikes
3D Printed Bike by Sculpteo
The 3D-printed bike formulated by Sculpteo made a significant mark in coming up with viable options to eliminate any obstacles that could arise with the optimization of the manufacturing process.
It included the design of a 3D printed bicycle that moves with the help of digital functions. The engineers and company managers went the extra mile in taking the bike on a trip cruising to San Francisco from Las Vegas. The goal was to demonstrate the impressive strength of the bicycle. It was also to express the benefits of implementing new technology used in the design of the bicycle.
One impressive aspect that stood out was incorporating Agile Metal Technology, software that initiates the design of metal 3D printing and accelerates the process. It also marked the foundation of the incorporation of artificial intelligence into 3D printing technology. The process assisted in evaluating and anticipating all possible problems that could arise in the manufacturing process of such bicycles and how they could be overcome.
The above bicycle designs are instrumental in demonstrating how this technology can provide immense benefits. We’ve seen it in prosthetics, bongs, metal, and headphone stands. Not only can the bikes move faster, but they are also lighter. The unique nature of less production time translates to having fewer manufacturing overhead costs. Additionally, creating custom designs while considering each rider’s body type is appealing; this is a win for all.
If you’re a beginner, you can check out some of our favorites here.
Thanks to additive layer manufacturing, it is now possible to have customized sports equipment. They focus on the ability of each athlete while increasing their comfort and performance. Cycling is one area that has this advantage with 3D technology.
A bike can now be lighter, have more speed, with more comfort. At the same time, the goal is also to reduce the manufacturing overhead costs and time taken to complete it. There isn’t a bike that can be made from scratch to the final part with 3D technology.
However, some parts can have a technological advantage, such as the saddle and even the pedal. The bikes could already have a market presence. On the other hand, they could also be projects that show their viability in production, should they go commercial.