Empire Bikes 3D Printed Frame 02/15/2014
It was only a matter of time. The 3D printing phenomenon over the last few years has been one of the more interesting technology trends. The Maker movement and the ability to acquire a printer for a pretty reasonable price has made sure the topic has got a lot of column inches. Some interesting 3D printed bike components have already been emerging like the Kappius Hub, but this is the first complete bike frame I have seen. Made by a company in the UK called Renishaw who specialize in 3D printed materials they partnered with Empire Bicycles to take one of their existing frames and see if they could 3D print it and make it lighter. The result is pretty impressive. The original frame weighed 2100g, the new 3D printed version made from heated titanium powder weighed in at 1400g, 33% lighter. The frame is broken into individual sections, printed as a block and them assembled and bonded. The frame is claimed to be just as strong as the original. Fascinating.