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Additive manufacturing in the cycling industry: mainstream or gimmick?
conference contributionposted on 2016-03-05, 00:00 authored by Paul Collins, Ian GibsonIan Gibson
INTRODUCTION. Additive manufacturing (AM) for various industries has been trailed, prototyped and used in limited production runs (Gibson, 2015). But considering additive manufacturing with metallic materials has been around for over 15 years the penetration into an industry such as cycling that values customisation and progressive design techniques has been quite limited. This case study looks at the potential of and why additive manufacturing has not progressed from concept development and prototyping into production and mainstream. Selective Laser Melting (SLM) additive manufacturing systems mainly use Stainless Steel 316 (SS316) and Titanium 6Al.4V (Ti64) as a baseline material; both these materials are extremely common in the custom and high volume bike industries. For the purposes of this article we will focus on smaller custom bike manufacturers who are typically more agile and open to high levels of customisation in their products. The study finds that whilst a high number of companies will experiment and prototype with additive manufacturing there is little evidence that the design and development process translates to ongoing production for sale to the consumer, this could be due to knowledge of design and fabrication techniques.