Aug. 14, 2014

We've seen a few examples of 3D printing in the bicycle industry and the possibilities that it could hold for the future. Back in January, 2014, Flying Machine, a small company based in Perth, Australia, revealed a titanium bike that features eight titanium "lugs" printed by the CSIRO. In the same period, Empire Cycles and Renishaw made the world's first 3D printed metal bike frame.

If you are really into cycling, you would love the idea of making your own frame and being able to add whatever custom geometry and extras to your bike. That future is not far, basically it is already here.

This week an Australia-based industrial designer has brought an awesome project to the world: a redesigned, custom-fit, 3D printed bike frame that you have never seen before: beautiful mesh texture, light weight, accommodated LED lighting in the rear for safety, the designer's name included within the structure of the frame!

The project was the brainchild of industrial designer, university lecturer, researcher, and 3D Printing enthusiast James Novak.

Like a lot of creative people Novak was always searching for something more: "something that I could really sink my teeth into and get excited about," he said.

After completing degrees in Architecture and Product Design, Novak has spent a number of years working on a few relatively high profile projects in Brisbane, Australia. An opportunity came unexpectedly this year when he was invited to return to Griffith University as a lecturer. "It is a great opportunity to share my skills with up and coming designers, but what really blew my mind was seeing a lab full of 3D printers in all shapes and sizes." he said. "So alongside my teaching, I've taken up an Honours program to allow me to play with all these toys, and am working towards starting a PhD next year focused on additive manufacturing for sporting products."

Hence the 3D printed bike frame. Novak's Honours research is looking into the potential for additive manufacturing to be used as the final manufacturing method (as opposed to simply a prototyping tool) for bicycles, in particular the frame.

"What I really wanted to achieve was something that takes full advantage of the benefits of 3D printers, especially the ability to create one-off, customizable pieces that may be lighter-weight and stronger than traditional frames through the use of complex lattice structures." Novak said.

"In the future if a professional athlete were to similarly have a bike shaped perfectly to suit their riding style, rather than fitted using a range of expensive (and heavy) adjustable components, they will be able to radically improve their performance."

"More than anything I'd like the work to be an example of what we should be 3D printing."

Indeed. The bike has been designed to take advantage of this amazing technology and modeled to fully fit Novak's body proportions. Novak said that he spent approximately 150 hours modeling this particular model in 3D on SolidWorks over a couple of weeks.

His name NOVAK is included in the structure

"Surprisingly it wasn't the 3D modeling that was most difficult, but I think what has taken the most time and energy is discovering what is possible using 3D printers, and then taking a step back from the bike and trying to re-imagine what is possible." Novak explained.

"The frame you see pictured is the culmination of 4 months of experimentation, research and testing, and still has a long way to go. In the scheme of things, modeling this particular design was nothing, it's the process of getting there that is the real challenge.

"You almost need to reprogram your way of thinking when using additive manufacturing, as the old limitations of tooling etc. no longer apply, yet there are new limitations like build size and layer thickness to understand."

The bike frame was 3D printed in paintable resin through 3D printing company i.materialise, using mammoth-stereolithography technology. The whole part was constructed layer by layer in a liquid polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam. Each time, the model is lowered and the next layer is then drawn directly on top of the previous one. This is repeated until the model is finished. It took only one or two days to complete the whole frame, with some other models too.

All images credit: James Novak

After printing and assembly, the bike was exhibited at a seminar in Brisbane, Australia this past July and received some great feedback from visitors. The bike will also be shown in an art gallery on the Gold Coast from 16 August - 12 September.

"A lot of great ideas for the future have come from my experimentation so far, and I'm planning to launch a website selling some of these once I get through my studies. The site will be called and will hopefully feature the final resolved fixie frame for sale in the future." James Novak said.



via: i.Materialise

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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collen wrote at 10/19/2015 7:21:07 PM:

greit stuf bt how do I get my hands on it

Joe wrote at 8/12/2015 10:24:31 PM:

It's an amazing and very creative design.

UR MOMS wrote at 1/28/2015 11:02:10 PM:


Grant wrote at 12/23/2014 5:51:21 AM:

For those talking about the lack of brakes, it is a fixie. It is not the same as back pedal coaster brakes. As the wheel spins so do the cranks. You cannot freewheel. Any forward movement of the bike will make the cranks turn as well. Think of a track bike, on a velodrome. Same concept. Once moving you cannot stop pedalling until the bike stops. You can try to skid to slow down by locking your legs. Great for the knees!

Kevin Wilgus wrote at 12/23/2014 12:52:14 AM:

"Ben Roberts wrote at 8/17/2014 3:36:47 AM: It's obviously not a rideable bike, no brakes!! I really like it though, it's a work of art." It's a single speed bike. The brakes are the same as when you were a kid, peddle back to lock the wheel. I agree, it is a nice looking bike.

Grant wrote at 8/23/2014 12:19:50 AM:

As a 3d printing design exercise it's okay. It's already been done as a rideable bike frame about 7 years ago.

Bill wrote at 8/22/2014 3:50:58 AM:

What a total waste of time! The entire structure is devoid of the triangulation required to give the frame strength and rigidity. This is what happens when industrial designers delude themselves that they understand engineering. Please James, stick to detergent bottle design.

Tir Edo Fhype wrote at 8/19/2014 8:23:48 AM:

Very pretty. Now SIT ON IT!

lando wrote at 8/18/2014 3:38:17 PM:

hope you have good dental insurance....

jasper wrote at 8/18/2014 11:07:26 AM:

From an engineering point of view, this is a mess. There is no structural integrity whatsoever. Yes you have geometrical freedom in design, but you need to be able te create functional parts. This only contributes to the hype that is created.

Ben Roberts wrote at 8/17/2014 3:36:47 AM:

It's obviously not a rideable bike, no brakes!! I really like it though, it's a work of art.

Wout zweers wrote at 8/16/2014 11:31:37 PM:

A great help in designing the webbing would be weaverbird which does so more efficient than solidworks

Richard O wrote at 8/16/2014 5:03:41 PM:

The idea of a plastic frame being strong enough for riding is not the question—there have been working frames made of wood, bamboo and even cardboard. What I question is this particular design and the forces it will have to dissipate when ridden on a bumpy street. I agree it has a cool looks factor. 3D printing opens possibilities that are worth considering. I look forward to seeing the innovation.

shaun l wrote at 8/16/2014 12:22:29 AM:

This is bunk...its a design exercise, not a real bike....i cna make one look like a cheetah spaceship combo, but it still wont work... get some real srticles, not this design exercise. when you can ride it and not just make it print, then you can publish it.

3d wrote at 8/15/2014 3:58:23 AM: Same as your bike!

realist wrote at 8/14/2014 11:21:59 PM:

will it hold his weight? well perhaps.... well, until the first road curb, ideas like these are much better exhibition objects than actual bikes put into use. it would have been different if it was made of titan or even steel, but then .. he is definately not the first one to have this "great idea", it is just to expensive to 3d print metals

Tomek wrote at 8/14/2014 10:31:42 PM:

It's beautiful. I question the structural integrity, though, with the use of SL resin. Would be most likely better with sintered nylon. The resins I've seen are just too brittle, but maybe this is something different or accounted for. Tis cool!

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