Strata Cake is a small St. Louis-based outfit who has only one product – but it’s a doozy. Their CARBONCAKE headset spacers are made of 3D printed carbon fiber, weigh half as much as standard headset spacers, and are even available in custom lengths. Don’t feel weird if that makes you all giddy inside (we do, too) – so let’s check them out.

Strata-Cake-Carboncake-3d-printed-headset-spacer-2

Strata Cake CARBONCAKE 3D Printed Headset Spacers

We have a thing for weird headset parts, be it super-low-profile top caps or even strange height-adjustable spacers. We also love the growing trend of 3D printed parts, so we got excited to see the two melded together into one cool product.

The CARBONCAKE spacers are available in stock lengths of 5, 10, and 20mm. However, the real news is that you can buy custom lengths in 1mm increments, ranging from 5 – 25mm. While you might think the price for this would be astronomical, it only costs about $1.50 per millimeter.

It’s not just the price that’s low either – Strata Cake claims that their custom carbon headset spacers weigh about half of what you expect from a mass-produced carbon fiber headset spacer.

Color? Black.

Strata-Cake-Carboncake-3d-printed-headset-spacer-with-stem

Even if the US manufacturing and light weight aren’t enough, proper-length headset spacers are always a win (and better looking than a stack of random-length spacers). If you want to cut some grams, clean up your front end, and support an entrepreneur, check out Strata Cake at the link below.

StrataCake.com

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24 Comments
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Ol' Shel'
Ol' Shel'
3 years ago

Jumped
The
Shark

K-Pop is dangerous to your health
K-Pop is dangerous to your health
3 years ago
Reply to  Ol' Shel'

Idiom misuse. For one to ‘jump the shark’ they would have to have a previous history of being popular. Not applicable in this case. Just sayin’. 😉

Ol' Shel'
Ol' Shel'
3 years ago

(The high-end)

Padrote
Padrote
3 years ago

“3D printed carbon fiber” huh?

Celest Greene
Celest Greene
3 years ago

MarkForged does make some fiber-reinforced FDM printers, but this looks different from the MF parts I’ve seen. Strata Cake would have tell us how their material performs in compression relative to fiber filled SLS or tougher SLA resins.

Cool idea, and I’d like to see them integrate the headset top cap.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Celest Greene

I’m using ProtoPasta carbon filled PLA on a printer that I built. It’s pretty basic stuff, single extruder, open source software, etc. I used Solidworks for the cad file. Cura has been a decent slicer. 100% infill. I’m getting great results in compression strength, flatness, dimensional accuracy, durability and performance. This has been a fun project. cheers! -mark

P.S. I’ve been working on the topcap.

Ant'ney
Ant'ney
3 years ago

That sure looks a hell of a lot like the bog-standard PLA my Tevo Tornado spits out…….

chris
chris
3 years ago

No pricing info here, no pricing info on the website.

Dover
Dover
3 years ago
Reply to  chris

$1.50 per mm. says so in the article

Ryan
Ryan
3 years ago

There’s a bunch of companies making filament with chopped carbon fiber in it. Usually 20% or less carbon. Nothing exciting to see here. Just someone capitalizing on buzzwords like carbon and 3d printing. It’s a plastic headset spacer, that’s all.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

I’m using ProtoPasta carbon filament, which I believe is 15% granulated carbon fiber and 85% PLA. See above post for more detail. As far as “capitalizing”, I would say you are incorrect. I still have a day job. I really just love riding bikes and all the cool gear that goes with it. It’s really great to be a part of that.
Cheers!
-mark

Dover
Dover
3 years ago

why don’t they print it with the top cap incorporated. there are so many aesthetically beneficial options available with this technology?

Johnny
3 years ago
Reply to  Dover

Because there’s a stem between the spacer and cap. How would they incorporate the two parts when, by their very nature, they have to be separate?

Loki
Loki
3 years ago
Reply to  Johnny

Actually this would be a good idea, if it was a top cap with an integrated ring. There should always be at least a 3mm ring on top of the stem and then the top cap. If not a space between the cap and the top of the steerer it cannot compress the HS correctly, and if that space is the top of the stem then you compromise the clamping force of the stem.

Kyle Payne
Kyle Payne
3 years ago

I have these on all my bikes! They are just the right balance of weight savings to sweet custom flare.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Payne

Thanks Kyle!

Viktor
Viktor
3 years ago

They claim weight saving without stating any info about actual weights.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Viktor

A typical 30mm Carboncake weighs 9.65 grams. For comparison a 30mm alloy stack weighs 20.0 grams. A typical carbon stack weighs 13.2 grams. I’ll have a more thorough website as time permits.

Thanks!
-mark

Ricky Bobby
Ricky Bobby
3 years ago

You really don’t have to have very strong headset spacers, all you’re looking for is enough resistance to compression to set the bearing tension. Unless something radical changes, once the tension is set, you’re good. If you do spin your bars in an accident and your headset looses tension, you should not just swing your bars back straight on a carbon steering tube. You should loosen up the stem bolts and rotate the bars, then you’ll need to reset tension anyway, so…

Since these are likely low carbon fill PLA or similar, as long as they don’t disintegrate or crack into pieces they’ll do their job. Frankly, I do like the custom length idea, I just wish they could greater than 25mm. I did custom spacers on my bike that I modified the steering tube from threaded to threadless (welded an new tube onto the old fork) Since I was going for a tall stack and wanted everything stiff and sano, I cut and toleranced 1″ID 306 SS tube to the custom lengths I needed, I also made custom Mac Ride spacers to fit my 1″ threadless steering tube, maybe these guys could print you whatever you need in absence of having a machine shop at your disposal.

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Ricky Bobby

You have posted a informed comment! I’ll quickly answer a couple questions. Compression strength is great!
Carboncake was conceived and prototyped while I was living and riding in Colorado in typical mountain and enduro conditions. I have many sponsored riders who provide feedback and there have been 0 failures. In all cases Carboncake has performed flawlessly. Since there is no finish, there is no chance of fading or other surface blemish as well.

I can certainly do more than 25mm. In fact, I mostly print in the 28-35mm range for mountain bikes.

Thanks!
-mark

Mark
3 years ago

Ryan,

I’m using ProtoPasta carbon filament, which I believe is 15% granulated carbon fiber and 85% PLA. See above post for more detail. As far as “capitalizing”, I would say you are incorrect. I still have a day job. I really just love riding bikes and all the cool gear that goes with it. It’s really great to be a part of that.
Cheers!
-mark

QX Yee
QX Yee
3 years ago

One major concern I’d have with this material is creep under load and temperature.
It’s a large proportion of PLA, and PLA will creep, leading to loss of preload and a wobbly fork.

Have you tested the material at common storage and use temperatures (say 45C, 113F) which can be encountered on a hot day in summer, in the back of a car trunk in the sun?

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  QX Yee

QX Yee,

Thanks for your comment. I have taken into consideration PLA creep in extreme situations as you mentioned. I, along with a few experienced riders have been testing Carboncake under normal riding conditions for several seasons. Temperatures as low as 20C and as high as 43C are quite normal conditions for year round riding here in the midwest. A certain degree of personal responsibility is assumed when making sure bearings are adjusted properly and bicycles are cared for in a responsible manner. As with any performance component, periodic inspection should be performed.

This material has proven to be quite stable. Is it perfect? nope. But it works great for this application and our manufacturing constraints. There are compromises with any material. Cyclists are still arguing over steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon as the best frame material. I enjoy being a part of these discussions and am looking forward to testing new materials as they become available.

Thanks!
-mark

Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Edit: -20C and as high as 43C