Renishaw has this month unveiled the world’s first 3D printed bike frame which they have created for Empire Cycles to be used to build the one-off titanium MX-6 Evo mountain bike.
The 3D printed bike frame has been created using a titanium alloy which provides increased strength as well as being amazingly light and was created using a AM250 laser melting machine.
During the build process a high-power ytterbium fibre laser was used to selectively fuse together particles of a titanium alloy powder. Combining layer upon layer to form the finished titanium alloy 3D printed bike frame that you can see in detail below.
Each section of the 3D printing bike frame was then joined together using a special adhesive, resulting in a frame that is 33 percent lighter than the aluminium version. Also during strength tests the seat post bracket exceeded the EN 14766 mountain bike strength standard by 6 times.
Unfortunately the innovative 3D printed bike frame is only a one-off but if you are interested in purchasing a production of aluminium version of the MX-6 Evo mountain bike, these are already available to purchase directly from the Empire Cycles and stockists. But you can expect to see many more 3D printed bike frames coming to market over the coming years. Renishaw explains:
“Titanium alloys are more dense than aluminium alloys, with relative densities of around 4 g/cm3and 3 g/cm3 respectively. Therefore, the only way to make a titanium alloy version of a part lighter than its aluminium alloy counterpart is to significantly alter the design to remove any material not contributing to the overall strength of the part.
The original aluminium alloy seat post bracket is 360 g and the hollow titanium version is 200 g, a weight saving of 44%. This is just the first iteration; with further analysis and testing it could be reduced further. The original bike frame weighs in at 2100 g. Redesigned to make use of additive manufacturing, the weight drops to 1400 g, a 33% weight saving.”