Looking At The Bike Of The Future
It started when the German magazine, Bike, posted a singular, central question: can a sustainable bike be possible? This is in hopes of supporting their “Ride Green” project.
In response to that, Canyon, a market-leading bicycle manufacturer, also born in Germany, came about with an interesting solution: creating a bike using additive manufacturing. There are many initiatives developing in recent times, though, where bike and equipment manufacturers are relying on 3D technologies to build custom-made, high-performance and more sustainable solutions.
Canyon’s prototype mountain bike, showcased for the first time only recently this year at the London Bike Show, had a frame created using a laser powder bed fusion solution, which printed the bike component in three parts. It was a more environmentally friendly bicycle, minimizing the amount of materials needed as well as promoting local production.
The design of the bike frame comes with a lattice structure. This allows using the most minimal amount of material while still maintaining high performance. The company opted for the Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) method which uses a laser to additively manufacture a metal part layer by layer. The option offers a geometric complexity not easily achieved using conventional manufacturing, at the same time reducing the final weight and the number of components to be assembled. Hence, production times are shorter and custom parts are very resistant. However, metal 3D printers and metal powders are very expensive and do not allow the manufacture of very large parts.
Canyon’s prototype bike was printed by the 3D printing service, Materialise. Each of the frame’s three parts required 6 hours of printing and the weight of the frame and fork is only 4 pounds. Several other brands provided the other components; each one was made with recyclable material. The company has no plans to market this mountain bike any time soon, but it’s still exploring other brands’ designing methods. Nonetheless, all concerned are looking into more sustainable approaches.
Towards More Environment-Friendly Options
If you are looking to make your ideas into real life with 3D printing, contact 3D Composites today!