Jun 25, 2015 | By Simon

As useful as 3D printing has been for a wide variety of applications ranging from aiding the development of product designs to various medical applications, the use of 3D parts in creating ready-to-use parts for finished products has still been slow coming. With that being said, we’re starting to see more applications than ever ranging from housings for electronic devices to even race car parts.  

More recently, a regular desktop 3D printer was used to create a track bike at filament manufacturer colorFabb’s 3D print lab.   

The concept bike, which was created by talented colorFabb intern Stephan Schürmann - a self-described designer, inventor and passionate craftsman - was designed to demonstrate the capabilities that regular desktop 3D printers can offer in creating ready-to-use products.

Because printing an entire bike frame would require too much time and material, Schürmann and the colorFabb team decided to focus on just creating the lugs, which would ultimately connect the tubes between them.  The resulting bike frame is not only strong and just as capable as other track bikes, but also lightweight and easy to disassemble if needed.    

To produce the parts, the colorFabb team used their newly-created XT-CF20, a carbon fiber-filled filament that’s based on Amphora 3D polymer, a plastic that was engineered especially for 3D printing. Unsurprisingly, the 20% carbon fiber content of the unique filament makes the 3D Printed parts especially strong and stiff while keeping the weight low - perfect for a track bike.

“At colorFabb we are trying to get the most possible out of these desktop 3D printers,” says the company.

“We do this by exploring new materials solutions. The bike concept is focusing on printing functional parts that will be mechanically loaded. For printing them we selected colorFabb_XT-CF20 because of its outstanding high stiffness / elongation ratio.”

In addition to highlighting the capabilities of their new filament, colorFabb also wanted to help inspire other designers and engineers to realize their own projects by setting an example of what’s possible using today’s 3D printers - such as creating a fully-functional seat clamp that’s ready for regular usage.  

Perhaps what's most exciting however, is that the company has openly shared the STL files that are necessary for creating your own 3D printed bike, which can be customized for each user by simply scaling each of the parts. Additionally, the final design is capable of being held together with virtually any type of durable tubing including carbon, titanium, aluminum and bamboo.

For those wondering if their 3D printer is capable of printing the bicycle, the company has optimized the design to be printed on desktop FDM 3D printers including those made by Ultimaker, LeapFrog, Mass Portal, Makerbot and many others.  The strength of the bike frame has also been tested with a FEM analysis and, of course in real life use.

Those who want to create a bike using the company's new XT-CF20 filament can purchase a reel over on the company's website.  Whether you choose to use the new filament or not, the company has conveniently released the files for the bike on Thingiverse, GrabCAD and YouMagine.  




Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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