No22 Bicycles’ gorgeous new 3D printed titanium dropouts hide their real beauty on the inside

If it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the new 3D printed titanium dropouts now shipping on No22’s road bikes count for a lot.

Not only do they look as sleek and streamlined as those on carbon frames, they save them hours of machining and welding time during frame building. And they’ll save you loads of time and sanity when you’re building your bike or installing your brakes, too!

The 3D-printed, sintered titanium dropouts start with 6/4 titanium powder that’s essentially welded layer by layer into a part. Printed by Silca in Indiana, the dropouts get internal gyroid ribbing to reinforce the structure, yet also allow air to flow through them.

no22 new 3d printed titanium dropout cutaway view showing internal ribbing structure

Or, more specifically, allowing argon gas to flow through them. They needed this capability to purge the oxygen out of the tubes to achieve clean, strong welds when attaching them to the seatstays and chainstays. Those welds are then smoothed to achieve a svelte appearance.

Fun fact: The raw ti powder can cost up to or more than $400/kg, so they say they’re incentivized to save as much weight as possible in the finished part!

no22 new 3d printed titanium dropout cutaway view

They also printed a wire tube, allowing both Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS wires to pass through easily. On the backside, it’s printed shut for ultra-clean wireless SRAM AXS installs, and they simply tap a hole to access the port for wired groups.

After printing, the part is sent to No22 for finishing, where they polish and smooth it slightly and face the brake mounts to ensure proper alignment. Not much is needed, though, as one of the key benefits of printing this part versus machining and welding multiple small parts is the accuracy it allows for.

Then they’re heat treated to increase fatigue strength, yielding a part that’s ≥99.5% as dense as a CNC’d billet 6/4 part, and just as strong and durable.

comparison of welded versus 3d printed titanium dropouts from No22 bicycles

Shown above is the prior generation (on left), which used a shielded dropout, two flat mount brake mounting tubes, and a threaded insert. All told, it’s at least five welds of tiny parts that also require mitering to fit together.

While No22 prides itself on being able to produce those parts such that they are nearly perfectly aligned even after the multiple heating and cooling cycles of welding all those pieces together, it’s a pain in the butt. And it takes a really long time.

Cumulatively, these new 3D-printed dropouts save ~20 hours of highly skilled manpower per week and achieve a better, more perfectly aligned result. They’re also about 5x more expensive, but the saved labor just about washes it even, and they end up with a better performing (and arguably better looking) bike.

Look for these new dropouts now on their road and gravel bikes.

22bicycles.com

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13 Comments
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Bikerbrad
Bikerbrad
3 months ago

Really nice!

robo
robo
3 months ago

Amazing. I wonder if they will license these to other builders, or keep for themselves.

Kingaling
Kingaling
3 months ago
Reply to  robo

They’re not anything original. They look just like the Firefly Bicycles printed dropouts that have already been around two years.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict
3 months ago
Reply to  Kingaling

And Moots.

Yaya
Yaya
3 months ago
Reply to  Eggs Benedict

I think that’s a typo. You meant to say that they are completely original and look 1000% better than both the Moots and Firefly dropouts.

Kingaling
Kingaling
3 months ago
Reply to  Yaya

Oh jeez. You’re totally right. How could I have possibly confused this and that? The Firefly has a raised web.

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Martin
Martin
22 days ago
Reply to  Kingaling

Those are solid. The Silca ones have internal ribbing.

Jose
Jose
3 months ago

I’m not sure how easily any ti dropouts get misaligned by heating and cooling etc. It’s always more about the skill of the builder. I don’t see how these would be any better since they are still welded like any other dropout. Sounds like a sales pitch. If they make this claim then say so! Otherwise I’m not sure what to believe here sometimes… if it’s just hype from the reviewer or what.

Bryce
3 months ago
Reply to  Jose

Hi Jose –

I’ll keep this short – but it is in fact very true. As noted, the cost of the new dropouts far exceeds the former. That’s not an expense we would undertake as simply a marketing pitch!

Even with having some of the best welders in the game on our team, the dropout and flat mount bosses are the trickiest to nail – I’m sure any Ti bike frame fabricator would collaborate this.

With the method we used prior, you’re dealing with 5 separate elements coming together in a highly tolerance sensitive junction: chain stay, seat stay, dropout, and flat mount bosses.

When welding the flat mount bosses, each wants to pull in towards the space separating them with the heat of the weld, and return back when cooled. This requires the welder to predict from experience how the bosses will move and to proactively compensate for this. Experience helps tremendously, but no two bikes ever weld-up identically, and is therefore not a perfectly repeatable pattern, hence the need for further intervention.

When welding mitered tubes to the drop-out, a similar situation is at play where heat causes the cylindrical barrel that is a hooded drop out to want to rotate.

Our new design combines those five elements into one. The integrated flat mount bosses are printed pre-connected to the chainstay, and a section of both chain stay and seat stay is already fused to the drop out proper. The new socket and sleeve connections of the stays keeps the welded joins away from the axle interface and flat mount bosses and allows us to use a fusion connection as opposed to a double-pass weld, which reduces the exposure to heat. Further, the unique internal lattice structure combined with the air pockets that surround it are proving to be an excellent way to diffuse the heat produced by the welds.

As of yesterday we’ve welded a dozen frames with this new design and only two required minor alignment retouches. The former method required attention on almost every bike – a big time suck which is the reality of the former method, no matter who is executing it.

Hope this clarifies! Feel free to reach out to us via the site or social should you have any further questions.

darren crisp
3 months ago
Reply to  Bryce

As a 25yr.ti welder and user of 3d.printed drops, I can undoubtedly confirm this ^^^.. Congrats to 22 for taking it to the next level. The work involved in designing and implementing 3d drops is notable.

Bryce
3 months ago
Reply to  Bryce

Apologies for the autocorrect and grammatical snafus of typing such a lengthy reply by smartphone. And, well, not keeping it short at all .

J Housse
J Housse
2 months ago
Reply to  Bryce

Bravo! Thanks for the detailed description.

Martin
Martin
22 days ago
Reply to  Bryce

How about designing the flatmount to account for a stack of spherical washers?