As a bicycle newsmaker, you can file this under 3D-printed projects and you can flag it as a uniquely light yet strong 3D-printed titanium bicycle frame. The frame, announced earlier this month, was manufactured out of a collaboration between two UK companies, Renishaw, a manufacturer of a metal-based additive manufacturing machine that prints metal parts, and Empire Cycles, a bicycle design and manufacturing company. The design is based on Empire’s MX-6 mountain bike but optimized. Renishaw leveraged its 3D printed materials and technology process to deliver a light but sturdy frame. The key words in all this are “3d printing” and “metal.” Quoted in Dezeen, Chris Williams, managing director of Empire Cycles, noted that while some carbon fiber bikes are light, this 3D printed frame is both light and more robust. “The durability of carbon fiber can’t compare to a metal bike,” he said.
Renishaw enabled the bike frame to be additively manufactured in titanium alloy in sections and then bonded together to create the titanium alloy frame. Renishaw’s notes on titanium alloys point to high Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) of more than 900 MPa when processed using additive manufacturing, and, the company said,”near perfect densities of greater than 99.7 percent are achieved.”