3D Printed Bicycles3D Printing EventsConsumer Products

OECHSLER, 9T and others show off AM parts at EUROBIKE 2023

Bicycle parts and accessories are an ideal fit for newer processes targeting additive manufacturing of final parts

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

The bicycle, e-bike and e-mobility segment has become a major adopter of AM technology for both rapid part development and advanced customization options. Many of these innovations are on display at EUROBIKE 2023, the central platform for the bike and future mobility world. Companies like 9T, Headmade Materials, OECHSLER and Materialise, which are targeting higher production capabilities in the bicycle parts and accessories segment, are all participating and showing off the latest achievements.

AM is a perfect fit for EUROBIKE as the fair is driving change forward and is the hub at the center of all market developments. The booming and fast-growing bike- and future mobility industries view EUROBIKE as their shared platform. It sets new standards and identifies key topics in the areas Sport, Leisure, Health and Mobility, is constantly evolving, and brings the international community together live and face to face.

The AM revolution

EUROBIKE 2023 also hosted a talk on 3D printing during the BIKE BIZ REVOLUTION conference that takes place in the days immediately before the trade show begins. Gert Hendrickx, Sales Director in the manufacturing division of AM service provider Materialise, spoke about using 3D printing as a fast method to turn ideas into prototypes as well as using it to actually produce commercial parts.

OECHSLER, 9T and others show off AM parts at EUROBIKE 2023 showing bicycle parts and accessories are an ideal fit “What we do now is, we are producing both prototypes and series parts,” Hendrickx explained in a pre-conference interview. “In theory, everything that is plastic and metal could be printed. What we, as Materialise, work with you on is whether it should be printed – does it make sense from a manufacturing or supply chain point of view? Not every part makes sense to print.”

Hendrickx went on to explain that rapid prototyping via AM is used mainly for the bike frames, while production focuses on saddle components. For example, he mentioned Materialise’s ongoing work with Pinarello; where the Belgian company has been producing the saddle pin to connect the saddle to the tube that goes in the frame.

“We see an increase in demand in the biking industry – he continued – so, we are working now for several bike manufacturers to make the prototypes of their products.  The majority of the parts that we are printing is indeed for showcases […] The next step, I think, and that’s my personal opinion, can be that you make frames really customized, that we start measuring people.” This, however, very much depends on the number of parts required. For batches above 50,000 AM is usually not suitable although Hendrickx points out that the Pinarello deal has passed this mark.

Real bike parts at EUROBIKE 2023

Newer technologies such as HP’s MJF and Carbon DLS have significantly raised the line where it still makes sense to use AM for polymer part production. German polymer production specialist OECHSLER is the leading company using both of these technologies for bike part production and the company was present at EUROBIKE showing off the bike saddles produced for Specialized using DLS and those, along with several other bike parts, produced for SQlab.

As shown by its Head of Program Management – Additive Manufacturing Lattice, Andreas Knöchel, OECHSLER has been working with Carbon and Specialized on the S-Works Power Saddle, which was made using a process called “Mirror Technology,” integrating a complex lattice structure designed to absorb impact and improve stability, resulting in a comfier and safer biking experience. OECHSLER also worked with Sqlab on “Made in Germany” products such as the 6OX Infinergy® ERGOWAVE® active saddle, with smart design features including geometry specifically designed to reduce pain as well as the ability of the saddle to slightly tilt left and right to optimize comfort.

Also very interesting in terms of future production applications is the Cold Metal Fusion process invented by Headmade Materials, which uses metal-filled polymer powders to produce metal parts, including titanium ones (in collaboration with Element 22) via a standard SLS process. Benjamin Michelfelder of Headmade Materials spoke at EUROBIKE 2023 about “Breaking the rules for titanium, with new possibilities using CMF technology. He also showed off a titanium crank made with the CMF process (see photo below) that was on display at the Trickstuff booth. Element22 showed a road bike at the Pilot Cycles booth that was entirely made with no welds, by leveraging an optimized 3D printing design.

OECHSLER, 9T and others show off AM parts at EUROBIKE 2023 showing bicycle parts and accessories are an ideal fit

Talking about metal bike parts, TRUMPF and Trickstuff used the more traditional LPBF process (Laser Metal Fusion) to produce titanium brake levers that are particularly light and stable at the same time. They can be produced cost-effectively using the TruPrint 1000 system. The two companies presented the result of the collaboration at the show, demonstrating that metal can be both more cost-effective and more environmentally sustainable than carbon for these types of parts.

OECHSLER, 9T and others show off AM parts at EUROBIKE 2023 showing bicycle parts and accessories are an ideal fit
The metal 3D printed brakes from Trumpf and Trickstuff.

In this assessment, they might find 9T Labs to have something to differ. The Swiss company’s Head of Marketing & Business Development, Yannick Willemin, who is also a bicycle enthusiast, was at EUROBIKE to talk about parts made using the Additive Fusion Technology (AFT) solution, which serially and cost-effectively produced composite parts using a hybrid process that integrates both additive and formative technologies. A sample bike part can be seen in the photo below (the one in black).

OECHSLER, 9T and others show off AM parts at EUROBIKE 2023 showing bicycle parts and accessories are an ideal fit

Other AM-related products seen at the show included the customization app from Twikit. The bike customizer (try it here) enables the creation of GPS mounts that are compatible with any brand or cockpit type and that bike enthusiasts can configure to fit their individual needs and preferences.

Together with BASF Forward AM, Twikit designed the mount in such a way that it is as light and steady as possible so that it could be a perfect addition to any rider’s lightweight race bike. By leveraging the potential of 3D printing, brands can offer unique, customized, locally produced products on-demand, without any waste.


Servicing the bicycle industry

Particularly interesting in terms of real production applications, Berlin-based AM service provider MaxResolution3D was present at EUROBIKE, together with clients such as Riese & Müller GmbH, More Cargobike and Vinter Design, showcasing different cargo boxes that integrate several 3D printed parts integrated. The company, that can additively manufacture lot sizes of up to 10,000 pieces, said that the bicycle industry is one of its primary target markets.

As Materialise’s Gert Hendrickx said in his interview, “The sooner a company like Materialise is involved in the design process, the better and the more benefit both our customers and ourselves can have. However – he added – it’s never too late […] We believe in a more agile way of development, following the 3E-principle: explore, experiment and enable. The sooner you are in those three steps, the more benefit you get.”

These are just a few examples, as 3D printing is rapidly becoming a must in a rapidly evolving bike and e-bike industry. Not just for bike parts but also for parts that you may not expect. Elastic interface, a bike padding specialist company that last year showed its first 3D printed cycling padding inserts products, N3X, presented a special set of 3D printed insoles made for specifically for cycling, “so there’s no support on the heel but there is padding in the arch and metatarsal.” As BikeRader reported, the insoles are flexible and breathable and can be machine washed. There will be three models available with varying levels of breathability and support: Essential; Premium; and Exclusive.

The product and all the research around it aim not just to guarantee the performance of the cyclist but to also find a solution to produce them with zero production waste. It is a new way of production and the time to implement it is now.

 

Research
Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Save
Accept all Services

Newsletter

Join our 12,000+ Professional community and get weekly AM industry insights straight to your inbox. Our editor-curated newsletter equips executives, engineers, and end-users with crucial updates, helping you stay ahead.