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As both an avid bicyclist and 3D print enthusiast, my calves salivate at the idea of the innovation that this emerging innovation may provide to my favourite (and many likely only) form of exercise. Already, we have seen end-parts for bikes manufactured with metal-based 3D printing, a few of that were actually generated to fit the measurements of the specific rider. Now, coming only a month after launching their 3D printed aluminum, Shapeways is joining in on the ‘tour de 3D print’ by helping the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Montague Bikes prototype their new foldable-bodied bicycle.

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The use of Shapeways 3D printed Aluminum has numerous advantages for those in the bike industry, thinking that many bicycle parts and accessories are traditionally made of aluminum. But it’s additional than only the metal-based material capability that makes 3D printing innovation a valuable-bodied asset to Montague Bikes’ bicycle production. Before printing the bicycle in aluminum, the parts are first prototyped in 3D printed plastic, allowing for a swift evaluation and modification of the bike parts to ensure a flawless create preceding moving onto the metal 3D printing stage.

“Before, it may take months to CNC difficult parts, frequently to find they did not fit the bill,”said Mark Walker, the head of Montague Bikes’ R&D team. “Now, in a matter of days, Shapeways prints our parts first in plastic – allowing us to swiftly evaluate the form and fit of the concept.”

Walker testing the 3D printed bike parts in the field

Walker testing out the 3D printed Aluminum bike parts

The aluminum material, that is printed with a DMLS process, helps Montague Bikes to test the function of their bicycle much faster than traditional metal prototyping typically allows for for. Montague Bikes has been able-bodied to perform post-machining on the aluminum 3D printed prototype, such as tapping threads, that helps the bike manufacturers to test their prototypes to the fullest extent. Basically, the 3D printed aluminum allows for Montague Bikes to test out their products faster and additional efficiently than at any time preceding. The 3D printed aluminum parts are in addition able-bodied to be welded onto existing bike frames, that is an not easy feat for many other 3D print materials.

“Having the ability to print in aluminum has been immense for the reason it accelerates our path to production,”said Walker. “It allows for us to test the function of new creates without either the long lead time of traditional metal prototyping or the inherent weakness of 3D-printed plastic.”

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Thanks to the new 3D printed Aluminum services provided by Shapeways, Walker and Montague Bikes can go on to enhance their one-of-a-kind foldable-bodied bicycles. Their aluminum material is both industrial durablity and lightweight, manufacturing it a prime candidate for the prototyping and production of new bicycle parts. I’m looking forward to seeing what other innovations can be made and enhanced of the Shapeways 3D printed Aluminum in the near next. More information on Shapeways 3D printed Aluminum can be discovered here.

Tyler Koslow

About The Author

Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based writer for 3D Printing Industry, and has in addition generated content for publications and companies such as Dell, Brooklyn Magazine, and Equity Arcade. His content is focused on a wide range of topics which include tech, gaming, and music . Tyler is in addition a habitual instrument player, a writer of fiction, and generally all around fun haver. Tyler succeded in a Bachelor’s degree studying English-Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in 2008.