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Hello!

I am looking for a person or a company who could perhaps accept order for making 3d files for 3d printed steel lugs, similar as these ones in the image, any suggestions who I could contact about such work would be most welcome, thanks!

 

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As a designer of parts, I'd speculate that you'd be paying several thousand dollars. Probably well into the $10k range if you don't have a proper architecture for laying the lugs over, which few do or understand. If you wanted really well designed parts, you'd be paying a lot more than that.
 

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The lugs you have pictured that Metier Velo LLC uses are actually 3D printed titanium. He is somewhat local to me and we spoke several years ago, 2017 maybe? Anyway, a very basic description of the process used to make those lugs is that they take a pile of titanium powder and blast it with a high powered laser to melt it together in whatever shape is desired. At the time, he told me only two manufacturers in the USA were using this process, one was in Illinois and I can't remember the location of the other.

Don't know if the process works with steel, but it sounds high tech and probably spendy. His bikes weren't cheap, but they looked super cool. I know that wasn't super helpful information, but that's what I was told about those lugs, according the the guy that had them made.

I know almost nothing about this process, but I would think blasting powder with a laser would produce a product with a high level of porosity and voids.

https://www.xn--mtier-vlo-b4ag.com/bicycles1.html

I just checked his website. Looks like there is an email, so you can contact him and ask him about it. Looks like like he moved to New Mexico. He used to be just outside of Salt Lake City.
 

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Here is one place in the USA that has the equipment to make that type of part from steel. The process is laser sintering.

https://www.stratasysdirect.com/technologies/direct-metal-laser-sintering

This is a newer attempt to 3D print metal parts. I have no experience with it but they claim it is more cost effective than SLS.

https://markforged.com/3d-printers/metal-x

I deal with additive manufacturing frequently and I can offer that in my experience 3D printed metal parts are so expensive that the only production applications I have seen where it is economically feasible is in Aerospace/Defense and medical implants. That is because in these applications cost is no object.

Every time I have quoted something to be made with this process I have ended up tooling it as a casting or machined part due to the cost.
 

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Tom Sturdy (https://www.sturdycycles.co.uk) in the UK has been making Ti bikes with 3D-printed lugs for a while and seems to have his process pretty-well nailed down. Pricing isn't completely off-the-map for a one-off, handbuilt Ti frame either. I saw some of the unprocessed parts when I visited the Bicycle Academy (https://thebicycleacademy.org) in 2019 and the staff all seemed happy enough to talk about the process. Whether anyone there would be able to do the actual design work for you or put you in touch with their supplier, I don't know.
 

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Charge Bikes (now defunct) used a laser-sintered dropout on their ti cross bike frames as far back as 2013. They were not a premium brand, price quoted in the 2nd article linked below is £2000 for frame only, comparable or a little more than other ti cross frames at the time. They had the dropouts made by a specialist company who mainly do - you guessed it - aerospace stuff. Not much help for us hand-builders though :(
https://road.cc/content/news/84238-video-charge-3d-printed-titanium-dropouts-being-made
https://road.cc/content/news/63158-...-titanium-cyclo-cross-frame-plug-3-and-grater
 

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What is the scope of work? do you have an existing design you wish to have modelled and then printed? Or do you want someone to do the design for you?

I can potentially help if it is the former. IE you have existing design you want to model and print. I have modeled and 3d printed titanium components before. However I do not hold my self out to be an expert in frame builder, nor have I designed or printed any frame components components before.

Surprisingly 3d printed small components can be very cost effective for one offs and or prototyping as you do not have to invest in the tooling/set up required to either mould or mill the parts.

However as others have said, for production a 3d printed part is generally vastly more expensive than a component made by traditional methods.
 

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I follow this guy on instagram

He builds some beautiful mountain bikes and from memory a stainless steel frame comes in at around £2K. Does the same in TI which costs a bit more.
 
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