BLT and Titan Super Bond Develop Asia’s First 3D Printed Titanium Bike Frame: An Innovative Breakthrough


Partnering with Bright Laser Technologies (BLT), the bike maker Titan Super Bond has crafted the first titanium alloy bicycle frame fully printed in 3D in both China and Asia.

The machine known as BLT-A320, used by Titan Super Bond, facilitates the production of high-precision titanium alloy bike handlebars and head tubes. These components are appreciated for their lightweight build, substantial strength, resistance to corrosion and extended lifespan. The lightweight design contributes to the overall reduced weight of the vehicle, leading to improvements in speed. The sturdy titanium alloy frame also enhances efficient energy transfer and handling, all the while providing excellent shock absorption capabilities.

Streamlining bicycle manufacturing with metal additive manufacturing

The choice to adopt metal additive manufacturing is a solution to the issues experienced by the Chinese bicycle industry when creating high-tier parts, according to the firm. Metal 3D printing, with its accuracy and high-quality machinery, has been vital in creating complex structural parts and meeting precision standards (0.03mm) in the industry. This technology also benefits the rider by optimizing rider posture and energy use.

The process of metal 3D printing simplifies and boosts production compared to conventional methods like precision casting, CNC machining, wire cutting, welding, calibration, and surface treatment. This transition leads to a reduction of 30% in production cycles, savings of over 20% in materials, enhanced production efficiency, reinforced welding areas, lower labor intensity, shorter working hours, and lays the foundation for future automation in welding using robotics.

In the past, bicycle manufacturing using metal 3D printing has garnered attention. For example, Sturdy Cycles, a bicycle-making company, implemented Headmade Materials‘ Cold Metal Fusion (CMF) technology to manufacture titanium bike parts. Previously, the company collaborated with RAM3D to 3D print parts for its road bicycles.

On a related matter, British Cycling requested help from Renishaw in 3D printing aluminum and titanium segments for their track bike showcased at Tokyo 2022 Olympic Games. Teamed up with Materialise, Canyon made public a 3D printed mountain bike model for Bike Magazine Germany’s ‘Ride Green’ initiative, highlighting an eco-friendly manufacturing methodology. 

BLT’s metal AM competencies cater to the wider 3D printing industry

in 2022, Titan Super Bond witnessed a significant elevation in its R&D and production skills in metal 3D printing, due to the inclusion of BLT’s Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) metal 3D printing machinery, notably the BLT-A320. Together with BLT’s extensive support, this amalgamation played a crucial part in Titan Super Bond’s victory, greatly contributing to its position in the top-end bicycle market.

Successfully tackling problems related to deformation control of complex components and weight reduction, the partnership addressed a significant obstacle posed by parts with a thin wall thickness of only 0.9mm. In spite of the challenge, the collective effort led to a comprehensive solution encompassing production procedures, part design, aid, and lattice control. This thorough approach guaranteed the successful passing of the ISO 4210 dynamic fatigue strength test for the 3D printed parts, confirming their standard quality and long-term durability.

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?

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

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