What with home 3D printers now trickling down to prices that mean every kid will have one in a few years, why not find a way to do it with high tech materials?
Charge Bikes worked with European Aeronautic Defense & Space Center to use “printed” layers of fine powder that are then melted into a solid form. Yes, this video was included under the page break on the post about the Freezer titanium cyclocross bike that gets a limited edition run with these dropouts (and will cost about £400 more than a standard frame thanks to the newness of this technology), but we wanted to put it up again on its own to draw a little more attention to it.
The implications of this are pretty big. There’s no doubt the cost of metal parts printing will drop significantly over the next five to ten years as this catches on. Many bike and component brands already have plastic 3D printers in house for R&D, most using them to fabricate dummy parts to test fit, movement and prove concepts before moving into more complicated and expensive machining of test parts. Imagine if they could just print metal pieces in house to test right away? Imagine being able to build internal reinforcements on hollow sections or intricate cable/wire guides and ramps? What about built in hydraulic ports for brakes? Just ideas for now, but who knows where else it could lead.
Couple of closeup dropout photos after the break…
Photos from Road.cc, who visited EADS and helped with the video above. Check out their post for lots of detail pics.