February 10, 2014 weblog
3D-printed metal bike frame is light but strong
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."
The frame was made according to a process called topological optimization—-This is an approach that optimizes material layout within a given design space, for a given set of loads and boundary conditions so that the result meets performance targets. The implications for 3D printing are mentioned in solidThinking, which said that topology optimization "could be a critical motivator to create industrial designs specifically for additive manufacturing."
Renishaw also described the optimization process:
"Topological optimization software is the term given to programs that are used to determine the 'logical place' for material – normally using iterative steps and finite element analysis. Material is removed from areas of low stress until a design optimized for load bearing is evolved." The resulting model is light and strong. By working together, Renishaw and Empire Cycles were able to eliminate many of the downward facing surfaces that would otherwise have needed wasteful support structures.
According to Renishaw, testing of the completed bicycle frame will continue, both in the laboratory and on the mountainside using portable sensors in partnership with Swansea University. The potential performance has not been completely explored yet, said the company, which hopes to continue to develop the project. "As no tooling is required, continual design improvements can be made easily; and as the component cost is based on volume and not complexity, some very light parts will be possible at minimal costs."
www.dezeen.com/2014/02/07/worl … inted-bicycle-frame/
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