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3D printing could revolutionize steel frames for bicycles

Steel News - Published on Fri, 13 Jul 2018

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Bike Radar reported that a set of prototype 3D-printed stainless-steel frame-parts from British bicycle tubing specialists, Reynolds, has the potential to totally shake up the way custom builders and manufacturers approach producing steel frames. Titanium additive manufacturing is a mature technology and it has been used, even in a commercial context, quite widely within the cycling industry. However, the possibilities that 3D-printing stainless steel could offer the world of cycling have not yet been fully explored.

The future of bicycle frames could once again be in the hands of framebuilders. In a time gone by, you could buy a full groupset that would include dropouts. You could then take this whole package to a frame builder who would build a bike to suit you with this and a fairly standardize, in terms of geometry at least, package of lugs. The whole industry has changed since then. Those going to a frame builder now are far more likely to be going down that route as they want something that's either unavailable commercially or unique in some other way.

With this focus on flexibility in mind, Reynolds is developing a range of customisable 3D-printed titanium and stainless-steel frame-parts that can be adapted to suit the needs of individual builders and their clients. The clean edges and tight tolerances that 3D printing can produce may speed up the frame-building process considerably

Customisability is not the only benefit of working with 3D printing — where others have used the technology to exploit its unique properties in terms of aesthetic opportunities and weight reduction, Reynolds is looking to use it to streamline production processes for custom and high-end steel-frame builders.

Primarily, as it’s possible to produce frame parts with cleaner edges and to tighter tolerances, it removes the need to mitre and otherwise prepare tubes, which is by far the most time-consuming part of any builder's life.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Fri, 13 Jul 2018
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