Apr 7, 2016 | By Tess

In many cities, biking has always been or is increasingly becoming a dominant form of transport. Living in the Netherlands, for instance, having a bike is imperative to getting pretty much anywhere, and there is no question that cyclists rule the road. Despite the increasing dominance of bicycles, however, the number of road accidents involving cyclists still remains quite high, and bike safety is becoming as important as ever. Slovenian startup, Noordung, has approached bike safety in a unique and novel way, and, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, they have used 3D printing technologies in the process.

The innovative bicycle design startup, founded by George Fras, recently unveiled their first model, the Prototype N-01, a sleekly designed electric power-assisted bicycle which features a unique sound system geared towards increasing bike safety. For those who bike to commute, you’ll understand the draw of listening to music for the ride, though plugging up your ears with headphones can be very dangerous, as it blocks out the warning signs of traffic.

To offer cyclists who need tunes to get from point A to point B, or for those who simply enjoy the sound of music while on a leisurely bike ride, the company has created a unique “powerbox” speaker system for their new bike. As Fras explains, “Biking represents freedom from our youngest years, and we want to upgrade that with the joy of listening to music. Today music on bikes is mostly listened to through headphones, but this is extremely dangerous, it lessens the perception of the surroundings.”

The Prototype N-01’s powerbox, which is fit over the bike’s top crossbar, is not only a speaker system however, as the multi-purpose box also powers the bike’s movement as well. Traditionally, e-bike motors are located in proximity to the actual bike pedals, but Noordung decide to rethink this design by centralizing both the pedal motor and the speaker system onto the bike’s frame.

In designing the innovative e-bike, Fras and the team at Noordung turned to 3D printing technologies to help in the prototyping process, as it provided them with a cost and time efficient means of developing and testing their new bike’s design. Because of their bike’s high quality design, and expected quite high price point, the startup decided to collaborate with professional 3D printing service Sculpteo, who could offer the company a number of advanced additive manufacturing processes.

The prototyping process for the “powerbox” involved preliminary 3D prints using SLS technology and both black and white plastic materials, and the final prototype for the first version of the bike was made from carbon and aluminum. According to the company, the powerbox/boombox offers its riders up to a 20km range with electric drive assistance, up to 100 hours of playing music from your phone, and up to 25 phone charges.

If further development of the e-bike continues to go smoothly, Noordung expects to be finalizing both its product and the Noordung App by early 2017, when they hope to launch a Kickstarter campaign for their sleek product.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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