BLT and Titan Super Bond Develop Asia’s First Innovative 3D Printed Titanium Alloy Bicycle Frame


Cooperating with Bright Laser Technologies (BLT), the bicycle manufacturer Titan Super Bond has engineered the first completely 3D printed titanium alloy bicycle frame in both China and Asia.

Utilized by Titan Super Bond, the BLT-A320 machine aids in fabricating high-precision titanium alloy bicycle handlebars and head tubes. These components are recognized for their lightweight, high strength, resistance to corrosion, and extended durability. This lean design plays a role in lowering the overall weight of the vehicle, enhancing speed, while the robust titanium frame aids in efficient power transfer. This improves maneuverability and delivers exceptional shock absorption capabilities.

Bicycle production simplified with metal AM

The decision to adopt metal additive manufacturing addresses challenges faced by the Chinese bicycle industry in developing high-end parts, according to the company. With precise control and high-quality machines, metal 3D printing proves instrumental in producing complex structural parts while meeting industry requirements for accuracy (0.03mm). Customization capabilities optimize rider posture and energy output.

Metal 3D printing simplifies and streamlines production compared to traditional processes like precision casting, CNC machining, wire cutting, welding, calibration, and surface treatment. This results in a 30% cut in production cycles, over 20% savings in materials, increased production efficiency, strengthened welding areas, reduced labor intensity, shorter working hours, and opens the way for future robotic automated welding.

Efforts in bicycle manufacturing using metal 3D printing have made headlines in the past. For instance, Sturdy Cycles, a bicycle manufacturer, adopted Headmade Materials‘ Cold Metal Fusion (CMF) technology for producing titanium bike parts. In a previous collaboration, the company worked with RAM3D to 3D print components for its road bikes.

On another front, British Cycling sought Renishaw‘s assistance in 3D printing aluminum and titanium parts for its track bike showcased at the Tokyo 2022 Olympic Games. In alliance with Materialise, Canyon unveiled a 3D printed mountain bike prototype for Bike Magazine Germany’s ‘Ride Green’ campaign, showcasing a sustainable manufacturing approach.

Titan Super Bond experienced a notable enhancement in its R&D and production capabilities in metal 3D printing in 2022, courtesy of the integration of BLT’s Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) metal 3D printing machines, particularly the BLT-A320. Owing to BLT’s comprehensive support, this integration has played a crucial role in Titan Super Bond’s triumph, contributing considerably to its stature in the premier bicycle market.

Issues concerning deformation control of complex parts and weight reduction were effectively tackled during this collaboration, overcoming a significant obstacle posed by parts with a mere 0.9mm wall thickness. Regardless of the challenge, the partnership resulted in a comprehensive solution covering production processes, part design, support, and lattice control. This holistic strategy ensured the successful completion of the ISO 4210 dynamic fatigue strength test for the 3D printed parts, affirming their quality and sustainable 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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