Since Draisienne or the ”Running Machine” at 1817 bicycle has been subject for continuous technological renewal, innovation platform and response for evolving user needs. The latest advances are related to a new prototyping, product and personalisation opportunities with 3D printing. This article highlights some recent examples.
The digital wheelchair
Go wheelchair was developed with the objectives to improve the quality of life, help with the disabilities and support the individual lifestyle. Go is an example of digital consumer product development and personalisation.
The design of every wheelchair starts from mapping user’s biometric information, which is then translated to 3D digital data and manufactured using 3D printing. The accompanying GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colourways, and to place orders.
The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support.
More about Go wheelchair:
Design for three wheels
Velomobiles are special kind of bikes that run on three or four wheels. They are designed for optimal aerodynamics, which is typically achieved by laid back riding position and special design.
Akkuracer was developed by the students in the Hochschule of Emden-Leer. The aim was to achieve sustainable and organic design for best performance. Accuracer was produced using SLS 3D printing.
More about 3D-printed velomobile:
Bikes for you only
The developers of bicycles have started to apply 3D printing in various ways and for different purposes. Below are some cases from different perspectives of bike design.
The MOBI develops a truly modular bicycle where parts can be removed and replaced, and manufactured using a desktop 3D printer by anybody. MOBI advances the ideas for open design by sharing the design files.
Robot Bike aims for better performance and a more comfortable ride by a full custom fit. They use digital design and 3D printing to produce individually tailored bike frames from titanium.
ideas2cycles is a company specialising in the design and prototyping of bike frames. The aim of the company is to create new concepts that have an impact not only in the cycling scene, but also in design, engineering and marketing. 3D printing and freedom of design are essential enablers in the tool box.
Shapeways is active in providing solutions for bikers including a wealth of biking accessories. For example the list of 3D printed accessories used during TheAlpe d’Huzes ride is impressive.
More about bikes and 3D printing:
All kinds of light vehicles are ideal platforms for applying digital design, 3D printing and personalisation. Parts are mostly small, testing different designs is affordable and legislation does not limit the use of new solutions on the road – as it does in car industry, for example.
Bikes, velomobiles and other light vehicles are the promised land for 3D printing.
Experience the world of 3D printing at 3DSTEP, the international 3D printing event and exhibition. October 4-5, Tampere Finland. www.3dstep.fi
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3D printing & wheelchairs: http://3dprintingindustry.com/news/bmw-powers-us-paralympic-team-91247/