3D printing has the potential to change how we design consumer products. However, consumer 3D printing is still mostly a gimmick, used for printing toys downloaded from the internet. The goal of The Bike Project is to push the limits of what is possible with FDM printers and to create a precedent for 3D printed consumer products: functional, opensource designs that can be manufactured and used by anyone.
This is an extracurricular project I initiated together with another Industrial Design student. After fully defining the goal and scope of the product, we completely dissected the design of a conventional bicycle. Split into 17 separate subsystems, we decided on what parts would benefit from being printed (e.g. a bicycle frame, which can be customised to suit the user's body). After creating a first prototype summer 2015, we then proceeded to completely redo the design with everything we learnt from that prototype. The result is a nearly functioning bicycle. The design of which will still be tweaked further until it can be used as a regular bike.
We have created two prototypes of a bicycle printed with a desktop 3D printer. We use aluminum extrusions instead of tubes in the frame, and standard wheels, front fork and bearings. The bicycle can hold the weight of an adult male, however the cogs in the drivetrain wear too quickly for the bicycle to be used regularly. Our second prototype - MOBI 1 - is being exhibited on the EU campus in Brussels, and will be at TEDxBrussels and at the Cycling Festival Europe.