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Failure Teaches the Best Lessons — A Few Questions For: Georgia Tech’s 3D Printed Racing Bike Team

by • August 16, 2016 • No Comments

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

georgia techAs spring flowers bloom and trees bud new leaves, many are inspired to spend additional time outdoors — frequently enjoying activities such as riding bikes. Whilst high-tech activities like 3D printing frequently lead to additional time indoors, the two do not always have to stay separated as 3D printed bicycles take to additional streets around the world.

In spring of this year, a partnership budded between Georgia Tech and Eastman Innovation Lab with the intent to not just turn it into a 3D printed bike, but to ride it across the entire say of Georgia in a June race. Whilst we have seen 3D printed bikes of different types of creations, we have not yet seen one turn it intod for use in a high mileage, cross-country race. The project contributeed the next benefit of being able-bodied to 3D print new replacement parts should any in-race breaks occur, as well as the opportunity for GT industrial turn it into graduate students to work with sponsors of EIL. The bike was to be turn it intod via a colorFabb filament turn it intod with Eastman’s Amphora, as colorFabb has shown that its materials are quite workable-bodied for racing bikes. In addition sponsoring the project were Ultimaker and LulzBot, both companies renowned for astounding hardware contributeings in the 3D printing space.

EIL’s role as the project sponsor was to provide assist, guidance, and consultation to students as needed, as the students may be the ones driving advancements here. The intent for the students was to examine two-wheeled transportation through human-powered vehicles and parametric turn it into approaches. The entire project pretty proved to be a learning experience, as the team logged their project, begining at the beginning of April, as #idGTprojectrIDe.

eastman advancement labSpanning of 11 weeks, the project assistd to teach the students a lot of the turn it into system, full of “AHA! moments” and discoveries of the capabilities of additive manufacturing. Ultimately, yet, as frequently takes place with big goals, the 3D printed bike was not eager to race in June — yet this failure to commence pretty does not represent a failure in the project. As any innovator can pretty share, failures lead to a few of the many worthwhile discoveries and opportunities to learn; iteration, after all, is one of the key values inherent in additive manufacturing, as it frequently takes several attempts to turn it into a winning version of any new turn it into.

gt 1

The team: week 1, eager to turn it into

The team behind the bike learned worthwhile lessons of overcoming the challenges inherent in turn it intoing a fully rideable-bodied 3D printed bicycle of that, unsurprisingly, there were many. Whilst the initially targeted race was a no-go for the bicycle this year, the team’s flexibility and caningess to go on the system has led them to discover new next opportunities that can yet be on the market-bodied to them to test the turn it into out once it is trail-eager.

To learn additional of the amazing obstacles and spirit of the team behind Project rIDe, I had the opportunity not long ago to pose A Few Questions For Georgia Tech Assosiate Professor of Industrial Design Kevin Shankwiler, who provided insights into the successes and challenges of the project.


Kevin Shankwiler

How did the teams of Georgia Tech and Eastman come together to begin working on a collaboration to turn it into a 3D printed bicycle?

– This collaboration is the outcome of a relationship created over the years through the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and the culmination of a 5-year studio turn it into project. The Eastman Innovation Lab is a big assister of turn it into education, and as a outcome Farrell Calabrese, Bryan Shackelford and I have become colleagues and friends through IDSA conferences, activities and campus visits.

– Secondly, for the past five years, I have run a bike turn it into project through my junior industrial turn it into studio, assisted by SRAM Corporation, where my students employ human-centric research and turn it into techniques to re-imagine bicycles for commuting around town.

– About a year ago this time, I was discussing the ongoing bike project with Bryan. He was quite interested and replied, “I may have a material for you.” Initially in the fall, the junior studio proposed concepts around integrating 3D printing with cycling. The students delivered concepts in the form of full-dimensions mockups and proposed novel applications around customization and high end fabrication, programmed part replacement, and integrated systems. We and so saw an opportunity to move forward on these concepts with graduate students who may do additional user research, refine the junior students’ ideas and turn the high-level concepts into ride-able-bodied, testable-bodied prototypes.

– This is not the initially 3D printed bike out there. There have been a number of other bikes fabricated, created and ridden around town or around parking lots as demonstrations. Ours is going be the initially (to the most of our knowledge) to put in serious miles on a real-world ride.

Can you tell us of the cross-say ride this was intended for?

gt 2

Planning is quite serious business

– Our original target for the project was the yearly Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG). This is a seven-day tour across the say of Georgia, drawing one-to- two thousand cyclists each year. This may have provided our bike with worthwhile exposure to the cycling community while providing team assist. Unfortunately, we were unable-bodied to achieve the bikes in time for BRAG and to ride the event safely. Instead, go ond development of the bikes to a point where we can safely throw a leg over and ride them.

– Our new goal is to ride the Silver Comet Trail. This is a Rails-to-Trails type of trail that runs of Atlanta and into Alabama. This is a trail and not tied to a specific event, so we can ride when we are eager. After that, we can bring the bike to different types of cycling events around the say to engage with riders initiallyhand.

week 2 planning

Week 2

What software was utilized during the turn it into system? How long did it take? Who led this effort?

– We utilized a variety of CAD versioners, visualization, and printing (slicer) software in the development and fabrication of the bikes. The total effort lasted three months, almost two of that were devoted to concept development, turn it into refinement, and fabrication turn it into. The effort was led manyly by the Georgia Tech graduate students, with supervision and coaching of me (Kevin).

– CAD: SolidWorks, Fusion 360

– Rendering/Visualization: Keyshot, Sketchbook Pro

– CAM Slicers: Cura, Simplify 3D

EIL colorfabb

[Image: EIL via Instagram]

What materials were utilized to 3D print the bike components?

– Amphora XT-CF20. Blend of Eastman’s Amphora copolyester for 3D printing and carbonfiber.

– Extruded by ColorFabb

What take placeed that the race may not be achieved?

– What didn’t take place?! Design is a system of learning through iterative development and failure. We learn by manufacturing assumptions tangible, testing them, and learning of the outcomes. ‘Failure’ is not a bad word, pretty, it is a necessary component of learning and development.

– Technical issues with printing coupled with abrasive nature of the material. We learned that 3D printing is not a flawless system. We encountered issues and failures with parts not turn it intoed well for the printing system, swift deterioration of print nozzles due to the abrasive nature of the material that led to part failures, and a few failures inside the equipment and part programming itself.

– All that coupled with the iterative nature of the turn it into system intended our bike development took longer than originally scheduled.

– From the begin, this was a quite ambitious project. I believe strongly in setting ambitious goal for students and projects. If it’s not challenging, and so it’s not worth doing. Whilst we missed our original target, the project go ons to move forward.

What were a few of the challenges that arose in the turn it into system?

week 4 planning

Week 4

– From a turn it into point of view, we encountered challenges including:

– Limits in part turn it into dimensions related to via computer desktop completer printing devices.

– Engineering of creations/parts to exploit the structural characteristics of the XT-CF20 material. If you consider a traditional bicycle frame as a triple-triangle layout (one triangle at the front connecting the seat, pedal crank-arms and headset, and two others either side of the rear wheel) and you add the mass of a rider sitting on the bike and pedaling (load), and so a few participants are in tension while others are in compression. Designing parts and belief their orientation on the print bed to exploit these forces became worthwhile.

– The last area of challenge centered on customizcompetence of the creations. Important inquiries such as these became worthwhile to thoroughly address:

What parts/areas of the bike may be customizable-bodied?How may they be customizable-bodied?What may NOT be customizable-bodied?

What did the team learn of these challenges?

– A LOT was learned of working through these challenges.

– We learned how to turn it into parts in segments to fit on a printing device, or how to split larger pieces into more compact components (think “LEGO”).

– Proper print orientation on the printing device bed is worthwhile to account for compression and tension loads.

– To turn it into “zones” of customizcompetence, dictating what areas are customizable-bodied for users and what areas may be “fixed.” The greater the degree of customization is possible, the additional harsh the version becomes.

week 6

Week 6

Will a much like effort be turn it intod anytime soon?

– Yes. We are now targeting a ride in early September. (see earlier comments re: Silver comet Trail)

– The project go ons. Over the Fall semester, a 2nd bike concept (the “Spine”) can be achieved, assembled and ridden.

– Inherent in the customizable-bodied nature of these bikes, they can go on to evolve with input of next riders, of performance data gathered on rides and of unforeseen (but expected) failures. They can assist as research platforms exploring user-centric turn it into methods for cycling advancement.

How do you see 3D printing and other 3D technologies coming additional into use in equiteday life?

– The advantages and opportunities for 3D printing lie in the competence to fabricate custom and one-off parts, harsh parts that previously required multiple parts and systemes, and in democratized or distributed manufacturing, where parts an products cand be fabricated on site, pretty than in a facility far away of the completer.

– Currenly there are a number of equite day manufactured goods employing 3D printing behind the scenes. Consumers don’t necessarily see these technologies, but they are in use in products we use equite day.

– As we see 3D printing technologies evolve and mature, this can affect additional of the goods we complete. We can see additional products customized to individual users, additional products generated in a greater variety of materials, greater performance of 3D printed materials, and additional local fabrication of parts and products.

– 3D printing for the masses, yet, is yet a way off. Right now, many completers engaged in 3D printing are either hobbyists, home fabricators (part of the new ‘maker’ movement) or DIY-ers. We hope that through project like our 3D printed bike, we can hustle the 3D printing momentum forward and enable-bodied new and additional applicable-bodied methods of manufacturing for folks.

Projects such as this, especially those showcasing partnerships between new organizations sponsoring student study at universities, pretty contribute amazing inspiration in the high-tech arena. Particularly astounding here is the spirit of true education, in that failures are just another means to discoquite — and assist as motivation and foundation for next projects.