One-off bike showcases the wonders of 3D printing
The Flanders region of Belgium is like many other developed parts of the world, in that it's full of companies and institutions that utilize 3D printing tech on a regular basis. Recently a consortium of these groups, known collectively as Flam王D (Flame3D), got together to demonstrate just what can be accomplished using the technology. The result is a 3D-printed bicycle, called the 王-Bike … and no, we're not sure how that would be pronounced.
The bike's frame is made from a 3D-printed polymer wrapped in a composite material, which is claimed to offer a good stiffness-to-weight ratio. Other printed polymer parts include the wheels, handlebar stem, grips and brake levers, all of which are reportedly stiffer, stronger and lighter than their aluminum equivalents.
Its saddle has a 3D-printed rubbery thermoplastic polyurethane (PTU) top, and a stiff carbon composite shell – it also has an integrated tail light. The single rear sprocket, on the other hand, is made from sintered silicon carbide. Among other things, this material is said to offer a combination of extreme hardness and low thermal expansion.
The suspension seatpost is made from sintered metal, while an eco-friendly "plant-based material" was used for the printed fender. Security is provided by touch-sensitive sensors in the front and rear, which incorporate 3D-printed electronics.
Going with the bike is a pair of 3D-printed insoles, and a set of cycling glasses with printed frames. When used in shoes with the bike's clipless pedals, the insoles are claimed to offer better foot positioning, increased efficiency and less risk of injury. The bike also features a handlebar-mounted receptacle that can accommodate gadgets that are printed by the rider.
While we have seen bicycles with 3D-printed frames before, the 王-Bike is impressive in how much more of it was made using the technology. There's additional information in the following video.