3D printed titanium bike is ‘world’s first’

Two British companies have teamed up to create the world's first 3D printed titanium bicycle.

The MX-6 Evo mountain bike is the result of a partnership between Renishaw and bicycle design company Empire Cycles.

Renishaw's AM250 laser melting machine was used together with a high power ytterbium fibre laser to selectively fuse together particles of a titanium alloy powder.

Layers of these fused-together particles were then built up to form the finished sections of the frame before they could be bonded together using a special adhesive.

Topological optimisation software was used to structurally assess computer models of each part of the frame to see where weight savings could be made.

Renishaw says the bike could lead to cheaper titanium frames in the future due to the fact that there is no waste involved in the manufacturing process and no need for special machining.

Once fully assembled, the MX-6 Evo weighs in at 1,400g (33% less than its aluminium counterpart) and has a tensile strength of over 900MPa.

It is currently being put through its paces by researchers at Swansea University, who are using strain gauges to measure its performance.

Author
Laura Hopperton

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