Asia’s First 3D-Printed Titanium Alloy Bicycle Frame: Innovation by BLT and Titan Super Bond


Collaborating with Bright Laser Technologies (BLT), the bike company Titan Super Bond has pioneered the first entirely 3D-printed titanium alloy bicycle frame in both China and Asia.

Utilized by Titan Super Bond, the BLT-A320 apparatus aids in creating high-accuracy titanium alloy bicycle handlebars and head tubes recognized for their lightweight, exceptionally strong, corrosion resistant, and enduring attributes. This lightweight model contributes to a decrease in overall vehicle weight, enhancing speed, while the high-strength titanium alloy frame facilitates effective power transmission, improving maneuverability, and provides remarkable shock absorption capacities.

The Simplification of Bicycle Manufacturing with Metal AM

The adoption of metal additive manufacturing is tackling some of the issues faced by the Chinese bike industry when it comes to creating high-end components, according to the firm. The precision control and superior machines utilized in metal 3D printing are key in manufacturing intricate structural components while maintaining the industry grade accuracy of 0.03mm. Further, the accessibility to customization improves the rider’s posture and energy output.

Compared to conventional techniques like precision moulding, CNC grinding, wire slicing, fusing, calibration, and surface preparation, metal 3D printing simplifies the production process. This leads to a reduction in production cycles by 30%, material savings of over 20%, increased operational efficiency, enhancement in the strength of fused areas, decrease in labor intensity, reduced working hours, and sets up the path for future robotized automated fusing.

The usage of metal 3D printing in bike manufacturing has made news in the past. For instance, a bicycle manufacturer, Sturdy Cycles, opted for Headmade Materials‘ Cold Metal Fusion (CMF) technology to produce titanium components for bikes. Previously, the firm teamed up with RAM3D to 3D print elements for their road bikes.

Another notable event was when British Cycling looked to Renishaw for helping in 3D printing aluminum and titanium parts for their Tokyo 2022 Olympic Games track bike. Additionally, Materialise and Canyon showcased a 3D printed mountain bike prototype for Bike Magazine Germany’s ‘Ride Green’ campaign, spotlighting a sustainable manufacturing process.

BLT’s metal AM abilities are of great importance to the wider 3D printing industry

In the year 2022, Titan Super Bond saw an improvement in its R&D and production abilities in metal 3D printing. This was largely due to the inclusion of BLT’s Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) metal 3D printing machines, particularly the BLT-A320. Alongside BLT’s extensive support, this integration was crucial to Titan Super Bond’s achievements, contributing largely to its standing in the high-end bicycle industry.

Difficulties related to controlling the deformation of complex parts and reducing weight were effectively addressed by this collaboration. It tackled the major obstacle of parts with a mere 0.9mm wall thickness. Despite challenges, a comprehensive solution was achieved encompassing production procedures, part design, support, and lattice control. This ensured the successful completion of the ISO 4210 dynamic fatigue strength test, confirming the durability and high quality of the 3D printed parts.
Two BLT-A320 Machines in the TITAN SUPER BOND Factory. Photo via BLT.

Away from bicycle manufacturing, BLT’s metal 3D printing technologies were previously used in the healthcare sector. One such example includes the company’s BLT-A160D metal 3D printer helping develop MicroNeuro, the world’s first flexible robotic system for minimally invasive brain surgery. Created by the Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the Hong Kong Institute of Science & Innovation, MicroNeuro integrates various technologies, including multilevel flexible endoscopy, high precision control, augmented reality surgical navigation, and artificial intelligence. 

Additionally, Chinese medical firm Wedo Bio-Medical Technology secured market approval in China for its 3D printed spinal implant, WedoCage, utilizing BLT’s BLT-S210 and BLT-S310 metal 3D printing systems. The Hydroxyapatite-Coated Porous Titanium Alloy Interbody Fusion Device received a Class III Medical Device Registration Certificate from the National Medical Products Administration.

What does the future of 3D printing for the next ten years hold?

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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