July 12, 2015 | By Simon

It’s no secret that one of the more exciting developments in the additive manufacturing industry has been in the increased adoption of additive manufacturing techniques - such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) - in the aerospace manufacturing industry.  After all, if something can be made for an airplane or a helicopter and meet rigorous testing standards, why couldn’t it be used for a myriad of other applications?

Unsurprisingly, these proven methods of manufacturing custom high-strength parts are already starting to trickle down into other industries as the costs of the machines and ultimately, the cost of producing the parts, continues to drop.

Among others who have been exploring the applications of additive manufacturing with metals in their craft include Australia’s Bastion Bicycles, a new start-up consisting of three R&D engineers from Toyota Australia.  Currently, the engineers are developing a system for producing custom, lightweight and performance-orientated road bicycle frames that use additive manufacturing to produce titanium lugs and spun carbon tubes.  

While they aren’t the first bicycle maker to explore the possibilities of additive manufacturing in bicycle frame production, a recent agreement that they have with the nearby CSIRO Lab 22 (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) for using their state-of-the-art 3D printing facility is intended to help them streamline the process of bicycle customization.  

“3D printing is really exciting. It allows complete customization by the user; the frame geometry and ride is fully customizable” says Dean McGeary, Bastion’s technical director.  

“We’re putting ribs in the titanium (lugs); with this we can tune the compliance and stiffness of the bike. If you want a really compliant ride, we can take ribs out, if you want a stiff and aggressive bike, we add in ribs.”

Bastion’s first 3D printed bicycle model will be a disc brake-equipped road bike that will weigh approximately 850g and feature modern accessories including flat mount disc brakes and thru-axles.  According to McGeary, the company will offer customers the ability to choose their bicycle frame’s stiffness and compare it to similar bicycles on the market - such as the Specialized Venge - through the use of an online tool.     

Perhaps most importantly however, are the frame’s safety standards.  According to McGeary, all of the frames that the company produces will be tested using the international standards of EN 14781 and ASTM F2711–08(2012).  Additionally each frame will go through the company’s own rigorous testing process which includes an FEA (finite element analysis) analysis to ensure dependability before final approval from the customer. 

“We’re hoping to go live toward the end of this year. We’ll be producing a wide range of bikes to do detailed testing on and once we’ve validated the design – we’ll go live with sales,” added McGeary.

After launch, the company is planning to deliver fully-assembled custom bicycles within four weeks of a customer’s order based on their specified measurements.  Of course, the added customization doesn’t come cheap - the custom 3D printed bicycle frames will start at AU$7,000 - however the price does include a lifetime warranty and a crash replacement policy for individual parts.

Those interested in both the bike and the manufacturing process can find out more over at Bastion.   



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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TimH wrote at 2/29/2016 12:32:39 AM:

FEA (finite element analysis) analysis is redundant. (Try one less "analysis")

Alex wrote at 9/6/2015 5:55:35 PM:

I use a cargo bike every day. Believe me that the size and weight of it is a great factor in safety and visibility. Taxis are scared to come close cos contact with a steel cage is always bad for flimsy alloy doors and plastic bumpers. Buses can see you from miles away cos you sit up high and straight. And the box is equipped with seatbelts for each kid. And you can carry lots lots of goodies after you drop kids off at school. More then most small cars. Much handier and safer than any bike seat or carrier trailer.

Obi Won wrote at 7/13/2015 2:02:25 PM:

^orientate: This is not the word you are looking for. (Try orient)

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