3D-Printed Titanium Opens Up New Doors For Bike Designers And Builders
It seems like we just can’t get enough of 3D printing and that’s exactly what’s going on because of the fact that 3D printing is just bursting with potential and exponentially increasing applications. The recent feat of 3D printing is the 3D printed titanium that is being used for building bikes. Road bikes that are created using carbon fiber and titanium are already touted as special and this uniqueness goes to a higher level if they are being made to order. Bastion Cycles from Australia decided to breakthrough and has taken things a level or two further higher by introducing filament-wound carbon tubes that connect together via titanium lugs that are 3D printed according to the buyer’s requirements.
This would be the first model by the company and shall feature the above mentioned characteristics. As soon as the company’s ordering system is functional, the customers will simply make use of the online portal for designing their bike. The designing by the customer part includes stuff such as submission of user’s measurements and opting for the required ride characteristics. This data is used to ascertain the length of the tubes and the angles/dimensions of the lugs.
Once the order is placed and the calculations are made, Bastion’s 3D printer comes into play. The 3D printer begins work and employs the use of a laser for targeted melting of aerospace titanium powder and builds the lugs one layer at a time. Each layer has a thickness of one-thousandth of an inch. All of the lugs and wheel dropouts for a single bike can be 3D printed in one build session that typically takes less than a day for completion.
Carbon tubes are then inserted into lugs and attached in place. The side benefit of this approach is the fact that if any of these tubes break, it can be replaced individually thus saving on cost and time. Quite brilliant, right?
Ben Schultz from Bastion Cycles says that creating lugs using the traditional titanium bonding imposes limitations on the builders thus limiting the size and shape of these tubes. With creativity limited, there’s only so much progress that can be made, don’t you agree? Whereas casting lugs using molten titanium is another option but comes with another problem; the wall thickness of the lugs is thick and eventually adds to the weight of the bike. Do you like riding a bike that’s heavy? Exactly.
In comparison, the 3D printed lugs are created with a mesh-like structure on the inside for support and can sport walls as thin as one twenty-thousandth of an inch. The end result as expected, is the lug being lighter and full of creative potential in terms of design when compared with traditional alternatives.
As of now, Bastion Cycles is accepting pre-orders for the Road Disc Bike and has already stated the possibility of a cyclocross and mountain bike models that will be released later. A frameset costs $5,400 and additional shipping charges of shipping from Melbourne. What do you think of this? Do let us know in the comments below.