Engineers in the UK have designed a new manufacturing process using powdered materials, using it to “grow” a weird ivory-colored bicycle made of nylon. They say it is as strong as steel. The designers hope the growth process, a type of 3-D laser printing, could revolutionize manufacturing, according to the BBC.
The process is called Additive Layer Manufacturing, and it works somewhat like a 3-D printer. Guided by a computer-aided design program, a laser fuses together several layers of finely powdered metal, nylon or plastic. The laser melts the powder, which solidifies according to a chosen pattern. Then more powder is added, melting and solidifying to add layer upon layer until the object is fully formed.