How to use 3D printing in lost-wax casting of custom lugs for a bicycle frame

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Sep.25, 2013

ideas2cycles is an interesting initiative that aims to develop new bike concepts and quickly bring them to market. This idea is driven not by commercial interest, but rather the energy of a young generation: “We want to develop the craziest bikes and immediately implement our creations with the help of state-of-the-art production methods,” says Kim-Niklas Antin in Finland, founder of the organisation and self-confessed bike enthusiast. “We do not want to just discuss forever; we want to turn our ideas into reality and build our own cool bikes.”

There are two reasons why projects such as this one can be implemented: First, Antin is a graduate engineer who has the required know-how, and second, digital production methods now allow for the cost-effective implementation of creative ideas into practice. In this context, Antin bases the concept of the bike frame on a simple but ingenious design, and combines the various frame tubes with exactly calculated sleeves. An magnesium alloy is used for the precision casting parts to save on weight.

“We have tried a variety of methods for building bike frames according to customer specifications in single batch sizes. The 3D printing technology turned out to be the simplest and most cost-efficient method,” says Antin. Antin e-mails the CAD data for the sleeves to the voxeljet service centre. There, a 3D printer quickly prepares the plastic models for subsequent precision casting in a fully automated process without the use of tools. The plastic moulds are as precise and true-to-detail as prescribed by the requirements.

Printed sleeves

Magnesium casted sleeves

Light sleeves for the bike frame

Customized bike by ideas2cycles

Kim-Niklas Antin already envisions the bike production of tomorrow: “The customer will select his favourite frame from a set of basic types, which is then customised to his requirements in CAD and subsequently printed using the 3D printing method – finished.”

Watch below a brief description of how a custom carbon bicycle frame is designed and fabricated using rapid manufacturing methods.

Source: voxeljet

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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