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When it comes to a high strength-to-weight ratio, titanium is just about the best material out there for manufacturing bicycle frames. Unfortunately, those frames are also quite expensive. They could be about to come down in price, however – two British companies recently teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium bike frame.
Renishaw, an additive manufacturing firm, joined forces with Empire Cycles to build the one-off titanium MX-6 Evo mountain bike. Empire already offers a production aluminum version of the MX-6.
The frame was built using an AM250 laser melting machine manufactured by Renishaw. In the build process, a high-power ytterbium fibre laser was used to selectively fuse together particles of a titanium alloy powder. Layers of those fused-together particles were built up one upon the other, to form the finished sections of the frame. Those sections were then bonded together using an adhesive.
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