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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