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  1. #1
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    One Day will we be able to just 3d print a Frame?

    <object width="480" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/u7h09dTVkdw?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/u7h09dTVkdw?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="390"></embed></object>

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    3d printers are not exactly brand new technology, It's not like they make useable parts either.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab
    3d printers are not exactly brand new technology, It's not like they make useable parts either.
    That what I keep thinking everytime I see posts on these printers and bike frames. There's no way for a machine like that to spit out metal and make something like a frame structurally sound. Maybe some new plastic/composite stuff could make a functional frame someday?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab
    3d printers are not exactly brand new technology, It's not like they make useable parts either.
    I remember the first computers and configuring the upper memory blocks to get around the pesky 640k barrier . . . because who would ever need more than 640k of RAM? Now contrast that to the I-Phone today.

  6. #6
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    3D is cool and it could be very useful to make molds for carbon fiber bicycle construction but for me it does not hold much appeal. I don't it as enjoyable build experience or any sort of craft. It will simply be who has the best most $$ printer. Working with steel seems much more enjoyable then sitting on hold with tech support and I don't see high quality steel frames coming out of the printing process.

    You can already print out a idea on and send it to someone else who will make it for you. Having a machine make it is also an option but without the human connection it is just a thing made by a thing. For me building has a craft aspect that transcends the simple thing.

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  8. #8
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    Yes

    Assuming we don't destroy ourselves as a species through either idiocy or bad luck (or both) I think you'll see almost everything made close to the point of consumption by the eventual descendants of the 3d printers we have today, including bicycles. Yes, they only really make cheap plastic junk and/or scale models of things right now - but there are a lot of smart engineers out there that want them to do more/faster/cheaper, and there is a lot of money to be made - you do the math.

    Of course, you could say the same thing about fusion power, which has been just a decade or so from commercialization for the last 50 years or so... so I could be wrong.

    I'm sure people will still be making traditional bikes, though. It's fun, and as we become more and more a postindustrial society, I think making stuff with your hands will continue to rebound in popularity.

    -Walt

  9. #9
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    My mind if now blown......
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  10. #10
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    Rapid prototyping

    There are already several Rapid Prototyping/Manufacturing processes that produce a finished product in metal.

    There is one machine that takes a scan of say a hip that needs replaced, and produces a titanium hip replacement from the 3D model through a Rapid Prototyping process.

    Big $$$$, you bet, but the technology is out there.

    There are now desktop models (that use ABS of course) selling for less than $2000. So I can see the technology and price point making direct manufacturing more and more feasible.

    I agree with Walt though, there is a big realization that having the skills to build/fix things is key to the economic sucess of the US.

  11. #11
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    How about a working kidney?

    Well....not exactly working but still ;-)

    Health reporters were aflutter last week with reports that Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest's Institute of Regenerative Medicine, printed a real, working kidney at a recent TED talk.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_832992.html
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  12. #12
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    There has been work on printing tissue as well. http://www.livescience.com/118-print...an-tissue.html

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  14. #14
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    Look up the Mcp realiser machines they print titanium....and 17-4 and in motorsport we have used them for making composite tooling....when you consider in our lifetime we walked on the moon it's not a pipedream that one day you will push a button and some machine will manipulate atoms to create an object

  15. #15
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    May the air be filled with tires!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaster1200
    OK.......now I'm going to go crawl under a rock, I feel like a caveman starring at fire for the first time.
    "Roll your own..........." http://smokebikes.com/

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by compositepro
    ...and in motorsport we have used them for making composite tooling...
    I think that this is the most interesting near term possibility for 3D printing for the bicycle industry. Anyone can make high quality carbon fiber parts. The process is very simple. It is the engineering and tooling that is challenging for small production batches. 3D printed molds can facilitate the production of inexpensive carbon fiber parts by lowering the tooling costs. Designers could upload proven mold designs along with carbon layup specifications, and end users could purchase the designs(and possibly modify them) and manufacture them at home.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokebikes
    OK.......now I'm going to go crawl under a rock, I feel like a caveman starring at fire for the first time.
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  19. #19
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    Love that helmet video!

    I have shown that to my students, and they are blown away! That is amazing! From 240lbs of aluminum to 6.5 lbs, all in 2 setups, amazing. I would love to have one of those play with.

    BTW, just to clarify, that is the exact opposite of 3D printing/rapid prototyping. (Which most of you already know.)

    frog

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by forwardcomponents
    I think that this is the most interesting near term possibility for 3D printing for the bicycle industry. Anyone can make high quality carbon fiber parts. The process is very simple. It is the engineering and tooling that is challenging for small production batches. 3D printed molds can facilitate the production of inexpensive carbon fiber parts by lowering the tooling costs. Designers could upload proven mold designs along with carbon layup specifications, and end users could purchase the designs(and possibly modify them) and manufacture them at home.
    I had not thought of printing the molds for carbon fiber production. Can it make cost effective molds that can be autoclaved yet?
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  21. #21
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    as always, the hype is way past the current reality. But this really is going to change a lot of businesses. I'm not sure about bikes. I have seen talk of mold-making by a vendor. Seems like the way to go given the cost of traditional molds.

  22. #22
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    I don't think so. They are using them to make parts for F1 cars. They can make parts that have any shape, and they can make shapes that were previously impossible by any other methods. They can even make things that have links, like shark suits. The biggest problem, and the reason why we don't see more of this is the enormous cost of the printers. But, like everything else, they will get cheaper. Also the process is very time consuming.

    If I remember right, a laser layes down very thin layers of powdered metal. Each new layer becomes kind of welded into and becomes a part of the last layer.
    Last edited by Mountain Cycle Shawn; 03-11-2011 at 11:39 PM.

  23. #23
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    Yes they do make tooling using additive process I have used it for bikes and for prototype parts in titanium....for test bikes and in some respects it's cheaper for bike tooling I used to work in f1 and American le mans and to be honest it's used but not widely there were some attempts to make parts that were too hard as in Rockwell scale and not difficulty so they were very wear resistant but other materials and processes were superior to sl

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by compositepro
    Look up the Mcp realiser machines they print titanium....and 17-4 and in motorsport we have used them for making composite tooling.
    How does the grain structure and strength compare to a part that was cast or forged?

  25. #25
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    I would think that it would eliminate a grain structure, which I think would be good.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn
    I would think that it would eliminate a grain structure, which I think would be good.
    Wow, the misinformation in this thread is astounding!!!


  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyDean
    Wow, the misinformation in this thread is astounding!!!

    Please enlighten us.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn
    Please enlighten us.
    +1

    He never said that it is and that he knows all. He said "I would think".

    Contribute.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevr4
    +1

    He never said that it is and that he knows all. He said "I would think".

    Contribute.
    Yes, I was speculating. I don't quite know it all yet.

  30. #30
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    http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

    The self replicating "free" 3D printer... Have at it fellas!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA
    http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

    The self replicating "free" 3D printer... Have at it fellas!
    Not really a lot of info there.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn
    Not really a lot of info there.
    No? There should be a shopping list for parts, plans, and software. You have to click on the links on the page to get to everything. Only does plastic but I guess you could make molds with it. It's free technology and worth a look.

  33. #33
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    Just had a thought . . . Maybe one day with this technology we will see Walmart get into the business of custom "Next" frames. (Why not Mavic has gotten into the business of selling shoes, and clothing). With all the money Walmart has, I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem finding the money to purchase such a printer to compete againt local bike shops.

  34. #34
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    I suspect that if people aren't worrying about the grain structure of the parts produced by these printers, they will eventually. AFAIK, the metal parts they are making now are laser sintered.

    I was thinking about getting head badges made by one of the consumer-level vendors. You could do some interesting things with it

  35. #35
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    Grain structures on slm materials are a bit of a 2 page essay....maybe a bit much for a forum read but the mechanical properties are good

  36. #36
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    i have the pleasure of taking a RP class this semester. the ability of these machines is awesome! We dont have any metal capability but we will touch on it a bit. check out Shapeways.com. you could draw up a model and see how much it would cost to have made and shipped to your door out of any material you would like. The cost would be more than enough to turn your attention elsewhere. Besides the "cool tech" factor why would you want a RP frame? just because we can doesnt mean we should.
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  37. #37
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    I can think of several reasons to print a frame IFF it were possible, IFF it were not prohibitively expensive, and IFF the frames would be at least as structurally sound as those currently available.
    With a "printed" frame there would be no heat affected zone. This would likely allow the "tubing" to be stronger, and thus thinner and lighter. That is, if we even used "tubing". Since the frame would be "printed" we would not be confined to using what is currently available to frame builders.
    The material to build the frame could be deposited where is was structurally the best. If I needed a few extra thousandths here or there I could do that.
    Aligning the frame after building(via cold setting or witch wanding" would be a thing of the past. The frames would be "printed" in perfect alignment. Chasing and facing bottom brackets and head tubes might also be a thing of the past depending on the tolerances and ability to remove residual build material.
    These are just random off the top of my head thoughts.
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  38. #38
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    In the past, nobody thought laser printers would ever be consumer items either.

    We'll just see SLS/SLM machines drop in price and increase in abilities every year.

    I still maintain that by using the technology, I could make a steel full suspension bike lighter and stronger than an Aluminium one.

    Just not...um....cheaper.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  39. #39
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    In the past, nobody thought laser printers would ever be consumer items either.

    We'll just see SLS/SLM machines drop in price and increase in abilities every year.

    I still maintain that by using the technology, I could make a steel full suspension bike lighter and stronger than an Aluminium one.

    Just not...um....cheaper.

    Yet...

    It's all just a matter of using the 3d printer to make a better 3d printer... and using that one to make yet a better one... soon well be using replicators to make our food and drinks just like Star Trek.

  40. #40
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    They have titanium powders that can be laser sintered and wind up with strength equivalent to 6Al4V alloy. They can even do porous sintering which I'm guessing might be able to imitate foamed titanium for light weight and stiffness without super thin walls.

    With a big enough machine I think a normal size frame could be made weighing far under 1 kg. The butting options are limitless, there would be near zero distortion so bottom brackets, seat tubes and head tubes would need minimal material removal during the reaming, thread chasing and facing process.

    For a little more weight and some R&D expense they could probably make a frame from Ti-Ni shape memory alloy and if you crash just throw the frame in boiling water and it will spring back to it's original shape.

    The capability is coming but the price will be prohibitive for quite some time.

  41. #41
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    "The capability is coming but the price will be prohibitive for quite some time."

    I suspect that "quite some time" will last long after I'm dead! And I'm only 35.

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    The current state of the art is a ~$700,000.00 machine.

    The fact that hobbyists are building DIY 3D printers and selling laser sintered art at Maker Faire (I bought one) tells me that the whole field of rapid prototyping is ready to blow up.

    Lasers will continue to get cheaper which I think is the main reason for the high price of laser sintering machines.

    The only reason it might not make a really good frame is if some other technology passes it before the cost comes down.

  43. #43
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    I like the thought of printing the bearings, cranks, etc all in place. Imagine a bottom bracket shell shaped for stiffness rather than to have bearing cups screwed in (big shell with hollow taper needle bearings, and integrated races).
    Hollow cranks with a stiffening lattice inside.
    One piece wheels.
    Forks with elliptical or triangular or whatever shape stanchions.
    Integrated bottle cages.
    Handlebars custom fit with stem, shifter and brake lever mounts integrated.

    Some stupid ideas there (top tube/potato cannon, cruiser saddle/sub-woofer, seatpost/tire pump), but being able to make and design parts without having to mold them and screw them together (disc brake calipers) could save some weight. I wonder about mixing materials...

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCookie
    I like the thought of printing the bearings, cranks, etc all in place. Imagine a bottom bracket shell shaped for stiffness rather than to have bearing cups screwed in (big shell with hollow taper needle bearings, and integrated races).
    Hollow cranks with a stiffening lattice inside.
    One piece wheels.
    Forks with elliptical or triangular or whatever shape stanchions.
    Integrated bottle cages.
    Handlebars custom fit with stem, shifter and brake lever mounts integrated.

    Some stupid ideas there (top tube/potato cannon, cruiser saddle/sub-woofer, seatpost/tire pump), but being able to make and design parts without having to mold them and screw them together (disc brake calipers) could save some weight. I wonder about mixing materials...
    One piece wheels . . . now that's a planned obselesence dream come true. Bust a spoke, buy a new wheel. Why true a wheel, when you can just print a new one. I can hear it now . . . "Grandpa they say you used to spoke and build wheels?"

  45. #45
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    current rims may be compromised a little by the requirement for bending the metal into a circle, but otherwise the spoked wheel is something that is really difficult to beat. I also like to be able to replace my bearings.

  46. #46
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    sure, but if it were all made from one material, it seems like it would be easy to recycle. At this point in time, most recyclers don't want rims with stainless eyelets.

    I would say that the overall majority of wheel failures are due to spoke tension (too high, too low, not consistent, etc.). There will always be the cases where the sidewalls fail due to impact or wear from brake pads...

    Imagine though a truly sealed bearing. Most bearings are how they are because of how they are assembled. Take that limitation away, and bearing design may change?

    Speaking of planned obsolescence, why is it that auto bearings last 5 to 10 times longer than bicycle bearings, at higher speeds and loads? People are standing in line to get lighter **** that costs more and endures less.

    Sorry for that aside. That dead horse has been beaten to death many times over.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzer16
    check out Shapeways.com. you could draw up a model and see how much it would cost to have made and shipped to your door out of any material you would like..
    Ponoko.com has a similar service. You can upload a design, specify the materials, and have it shipped to you when it's ready. Once 3D printers drop in price this type of service will probably fade away, but for now it is an option worth exploring.

    http://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/how-it-works

  48. #48
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    It's one thing to make some parts, it's another to make a usable assembly.

    You're never going to be able to print usable bearings because the hardness (Rc~60) and surface finish aren't acheivable without heat-treatment and polishing, even sockets for bearings are not currently acheivable (try holding a 0.01-0.03mm tolerance). Like others in this thread I have my concerns regarding the microstructure and indeed flaws in the finished metal parts. Not to mention the limitations on metals due to required heat-treatment.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyranha
    I can think of several reasons to print a frame IFF it were possible, IFF it were not prohibitively expensive, and IFF the frames would be at least as structurally sound as those currently available.
    With a "printed" frame there would be no heat affected zone. This would likely allow the "tubing" to be stronger, and thus thinner and lighter. That is, if we even used "tubing". Since the frame would be "printed" we would not be confined to using what is currently available to frame builders.
    The material to build the frame could be deposited where is was structurally the best. If I needed a few extra thousandths here or there I could do that.
    Aligning the frame after building(via cold setting or witch wanding" would be a thing of the past. The frames would be "printed" in perfect alignment. Chasing and facing bottom brackets and head tubes might also be a thing of the past depending on the tolerances and ability to remove residual build material.
    These are just random off the top of my head thoughts.
    Why would there be no heat affected zone?
    Will metals not be layered melted ?
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