May 1, 2014

Truing your mountain bike wheels is time consuming and tedious. The team at Rodin Wheels has set out to produce a set of Mountain Bike wheels that are ultra-durable, never need truing and virtually eliminate pinch flats.

Multiple designs were considered and the team finally decided to produce two prototype versions, a narrow 5-spoke version and a wider 5-spoke version, using 3D printing. They sent their computer model of the Rodin Wheel to Solid Concepts who 3D printed two full sized wheels using the FDM printing process. According to Rodin Wheels, each wheel took 32 hours to print and then hours of sanding and painting. All together each wheel cost about $3,000 and took 36 hours to produce. The test of 3D printed prototype wheels didn't go exactly as planned, because 3D Printing can reproduce the wheel in the same complex form but they are not nearly structural, says the team. 3D printing technology achieves what no other technology can, but in this case it can not be considered to be used for mass production.

For the "real" production of Rodin Wheels, the company says it will employ 3Drsr (Rapid Structural Replication) Technology, a patented process developed by Kirk Jones at Fastcore, LLC, that forms one-piece hollow structure almost instantaneously (Rapid Replication) under extreme temperature and pressure. 3Drsr Technology equipment is laid out in a compact cell arrangement whereby the part handling functions are performed by integrated 6 axis articulating robots for speed and reliability. It is said the Rodin Wheels will be replicated in under 5 minutes. In short, 3Drsr allows multiple parts to be converted to a single hollow highly structural component that is affordable.

Not many details were described about 3Drsr, but we found the patent link here. Here is the summary of the patent: "A simplified lost-core molding system that combines otherwise redundant features such as platens and hydraulic cylinders ordinarily found in separate core molding stations and product molding stations. The preferred system locates the core mold and the product mold between the platens of an injection molding machine and applies a common clamping force to the core mold and to the product mold."

The Rodin team chose the crowd funding site Kickstarter to launch their wheel project. To stand up to the rigors of mountain biking, these wheels are made from super tough aerospace-grade composites with a uniquely shaped hook bead rim to absorb massive impacts. They will also need to be light.

The funding will allow the team to build the costly tooling, purchase material and several hundred sets of high-end hubs. According to the team, the 3Drsr technology can produce 400 "real" wheels in the same amount of time that 3D Printing produces one prototype, but the 3Drsr Technology Cell costs about twice as much as the large format FDM Printer.

Kickstarter backers will receive a set of Rodin Wheels for an ultra low price of $389. Check out more here on Rodin Wheels' Kickstarter campaign page.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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Anja - 3ders wrote at 5/23/2014 1:23:44 PM:

@Laszlo Lorantfy: You can contact Kirk Jones at 760-598-6761.

Laszlo Lorantfy wrote at 5/23/2014 11:44:51 AM:

Do anyone know anything about htis 3Drsr. I would really need to manufacture some hollow metal parts, but I cannot find any real contact information!



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