Feb.8, 2014

Engineers and designers at Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, Wisconsin are among the first to adopt Stratasys' Objet500 Connex3, a full color multi-material 3D printer that is able to combine colors with multi-material 3D printing.

The printer features "triple-jetting" technology that combines droplets of three base materials to produce parts. It creates prototypes that look and feel like production parts, with more material options and more uptime than ever before. The system builds color parts with clear, tinted and flexible components all in one job, for example.

Specifically, engineers at Trek embraced the capability to integrate soft rubber-like components into models built from their favorite prototyping material, durable Digital ABS. This is crucial because so many bike parts and accessories contain rigid and soft components. Before Connex3, the lab would have had to build those devices in separate jobs, swapping out 3D printing materials in between, and then bond the components. Or, to print in one job, downgrade the rigid portions to a less durable, non-composite material.

Trek's Objet500 Connex3 created this durable Digital ABS chain guard with rubber-like components in one print job.

Color 3D printing was also used to translate finite-element analysis data into a 3D map of a bike seat showing the pressure a rider applies to each area. "Most people think they just sit on the whole bike seat, but there's more pressure on certain parts than others. This shows the pressure points so designers can make decisions, like where to put high-density foam, for example," says Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek's prototype development group.

This color model shows the pressure that a rider puts on this seat.

Catch a glimpse behind the scenes at Trek Bicycles to see how they've embraced 3D Printing to augment innovation on some of the best bikes in the world.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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