Aug 10, 2016 | By Tess

Since the beginning of the 2016 Rio Olympics, here at 3Ders we’ve been on the lookout for one thing: what at the Olympics was 3D printed? Unsurprisingly, we have not been disappointed and have learned about a number of ways 3D printing is playing a part in the summer games. Most recently, we learned about how the French Olympic cycling team is actually cycling around holding onto 3D printed handlebars. French prototyping and additive manufacturing company Erpro & Sprint collaborated with the French Cycling Federation (FFC) and aeroacoustic wind tunnel facility GIE S2A to realize the project.

Of course, the 3D printed handlebars, part of the Jet One series, were not just 3D printed for the sake of it, as the equipment actually offers a number of advantages over traditionally manufactured cycling handlebars. That is, Erpro & Sprint took advantage of all the possibilities of 3D design and printing technologies to create state-of-the-art and Olympic worthy handlebars. Each set of handlebars, and there were seven in total, were 3D printed out of a lightweight aluminum material using SLM Solutions’ SLM280 selective laser melting system. In addition to the lightweight material, the handlebars were also designed to incorporate an interior lattice structure, which both contributes to the strength of the equipment and helps cut down on weight even more.

After being expertly modeled and printed, the handlebars were assembled with welding and were subsequently tested in a number of ways to ensure their quality. According to Marc Pajon, the former director of GIE S2A, the benefits of the lightweight 3D printed handlebars became apparent after seeing French cycling champions bike with them, which then inspired the French Cycling Federation to introduce them at the Rio 2016 games. In fact, French cyclist Thomas Boudat even won a race in Italy with the new 3D printed handlebars.

During races themselves, aerodynamics and weight are absolutely key to a cyclist’s performance. As races are often determined by a fraction of a second, having even just a slight edge over a competitor can make all the difference. In professional racing, cyclists can reach speeds of up to 80km/h, so one can imagine that having less to drag you back is imperative to a winning team. The 3D printed handlebars, designed with aerodynamics in mind, also have the added advantages of rigidity and a very low weight.

So far, only a few of the cycling races have been completed in the Rio Olympics, so it remains to be seen whether or not the 3D printed handlebars will actually help France to  bring home the gold. According to Erpro & Sprint, however, the publicity they are receiving from the games will help them to manufacture and market their 3D printed handlebars as soon as this September. So whether you’re an Olympic athlete or not, you could perhaps soon have your own enhanced, aerodynamic 3D printed handlebars.

Check out the video below to see how Erpro & Sprint created the Olympic standard 3D printed handlebars.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Meyyappal wrote at 8/11/2016 5:43:28 PM:

3D PRINTING: mesmerising.

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