Cycling & Sport
There has been a huge increase in the number of bespoke bike manufacturers using additive manufacturing in their “made to measure” bike designs since 2015. Metal 3D printing offers significant advantages during the manufacturing process as each part is designed with fabrication in mind; this helps improve the accuracy and reliability of the build of each bike.
Most bike companies we work with choose to print in titanium because they like the way the bike rides and the light aspect that boasts one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of all engineering metals.
We have been collaborating with this industry and have printed parts for road, race, mountain and track cycles in all shapes and sizes. Initially we printed titanium junctions but are now printing framesets, forks, cranks, handlebars, handlebar extension, sprockets and seat toppers.
On a yearly basis we print thousands of bike parts in a mix of titanium and stainless steel for a large number of worldwide bike manufacturers.
We have 3D printed innovative handlebars for Cycling New Zealand High Performance Programme for track cycling in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. For other endurance athletes, we have printed handlebar extensions and a custom 3D printed aerobar for the NZ Ironman and Triathlon NZ.
RAM3D have been metal 3D printing titanium parts for bespoke bicycle company Sturdy Cycles who are based in Somerset in the UK since 2015.
Tom used to compete as a professional athlete in Triathlons in the UK and Europe and even competed as far afield as Australia. He did this whilst studying and has a background in Aeronautical Engineering and Sports Biomechanics. It was while he was studying Sport Biomechanics, he started to get interested in bikes and started to think more seriously about bike design whilst competing.
With his broad range of expertise working in bike shops and R & D, it was a natural progression to get involved in frame-building. With bikes, he feels he is in control of the whole process from start to finish; from creating the design, engineering, and fabricating them.
In his own words:
“There aren’t many products that you, as one person, can cover the whole life cycle of. Even with the addition of metal 3D printing, it is still quite technical and challenging.”
Tom embraces the use of additive manufacturing in his frame building and feels this innovative technology allows him to create designs and structures that couldn’t be manufactured any other way. He explains:
“There is the purist element with titanium, it doesn’t need to be painted or finished and for a lot of people, and that has a big appeal.”
The amount of titanium 3D parts on his bikes has certainly increased. In the beginning we printed the junctions and now print his forks, handlebars, crank set and seat posts, dropouts, bottom bracket etc (there are 17 pieces per bike that we print for Tom). The forks took an incredible amount of work and have changed so much since the early ones were printed.
According to Tom, we now have a good production system that works for both of us. We have worked out a build system; we nest all the tall parts and the shorter parts together and it is working well. We are printing two builds per week.
RAM3D have been 3D printing parts for his five models, Fiadh (road bike), Sidhe (aero focussed road bike), Éimear (race focussed Time Trial model), Cilla (all road/adventure bike) and Tara (mountain bike) and involve Tom in the print process, advising on any improvements on designs to get the best outcome for his bespoke bikes.
Tom has learnt so much over the years from pushing the boundaries of metal 3D printing, from having to do reprint and then change design, but that is all part of the learning process. A combination of reprint, dimensional accuracy, and the strength of the part when it is in use in the final product.
Quotes from Tom Sturdy, Managing Director, Sturdy Cycles
“RAM3D have been extremely easy to work with. Their communication is excellent, and parts are always delivered to schedule. The quality of the work that they produce is consistently high and I would recommend their services.”
Some examples of our work for the Cycling and Sports Industry