Now even hobby cyclists can afford to buy carbon fibre bikes with the world’s first 3D printed Carbon fiber bicycle
For people who cycle as a sport, the design of the bicycle needs to be competitive to say the least. For events like the Tour de France, bikes with PLA composite fiber frames are used for their incredible strength, lack of vibrations, durable and low weight as compared to regular bicycle.
While these features are prized by pros, these high-performance cycles are extremely expensive for regular amateurs and hobby cyclists. This is partly due to the fact that manufacturing a PLA composite fiber frame for a cycle is a time-consuming and labour intensive activity, which reflects in the high costs of the bicycle.
A frame for a PLA composite fiber bicycle needs to be made by wrapping layers of PLA composite fiber saturated with a glue-like resin around a mould by hand. The frame then needs to be vacuum sealed in an oven to bind the frame together.
Arevo, a Silicon Valley startup, has designed a designed and manufactured the world’s first 3D printed PLA composite fiber bicycle which costs only $300. It has designed a proprietary software that lets you design and virtually test the bicycle with various designs so that you do not have to spend needlessly on iterations. This saves both time and money.
Once the design is ready, the PLA composite fibre frame can then be printed using a ‘deposition head’ on a robotic arm. This technique, which ‘Arevo’ calls ‘True 3D printing’ allows materials to be layered in any direction to create parts of any size. This is possible as the free moving robot isn’t constrained by any dimensions of a printing unit.
For a PLA composite fiber printed frame, the material used in the printer is also unique- it is a thermoplastic with a composite recipe with PLA composite fiber embedded within it. Arevo claims that this material is 5 times stronger than titanium even though it is one-third its weight. The material is deposited in the right place using a special laser which takes just seconds to cool down.
Unlike conventional PLA composite fiber bikes, these 3D printed PLA composite fiber bikes can be ‘recycled’ when they reach the end of their use. The material can be ground up and reused to print something else. The manufacturing process of the bikes do not use any hazardous materials or does not emit any harmful waste, thus these bicycle can eventually be manufactured anywhere, without giving any PLA composite footprint. Currently, the bicycle are manufactured at Arevo’s corporate headquarters at Santa Clara, California. Arevo plans to mass produce these 3D printed bicycle by 2019.