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Framebuilder
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customfab said:
3d printers are not exactly brand new technology, It's not like they make useable parts either.
That what I keep thinking everytime I see posts on these printers and bike frames. There's no way for a machine like that to spit out metal and make something like a frame structurally sound. Maybe some new plastic/composite stuff could make a functional frame someday?
 

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customfab said:
3d printers are not exactly brand new technology, It's not like they make useable parts either.
I remember the first computers and configuring the upper memory blocks to get around the pesky 640k barrier . . . because who would ever need more than 640k of RAM? Now contrast that to the I-Phone today.
 

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3D is cool and it could be very useful to make molds for carbon fiber bicycle construction but for me it does not hold much appeal. I don't it as enjoyable build experience or any sort of craft. It will simply be who has the best most $$ printer. Working with steel seems much more enjoyable then sitting on hold with tech support and I don't see high quality steel frames coming out of the printing process.

You can already print out a idea on and send it to someone else who will make it for you. Having a machine make it is also an option but without the human connection it is just a thing made by a thing. For me building has a craft aspect that transcends the simple thing.
 

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Yes

Assuming we don't destroy ourselves as a species through either idiocy or bad luck (or both) I think you'll see almost everything made close to the point of consumption by the eventual descendants of the 3d printers we have today, including bicycles. Yes, they only really make cheap plastic junk and/or scale models of things right now - but there are a lot of smart engineers out there that want them to do more/faster/cheaper, and there is a lot of money to be made - you do the math.

Of course, you could say the same thing about fusion power, which has been just a decade or so from commercialization for the last 50 years or so... so I could be wrong.

I'm sure people will still be making traditional bikes, though. It's fun, and as we become more and more a postindustrial society, I think making stuff with your hands will continue to rebound in popularity.

-Walt
 

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Mtn Biker Machinist
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Rapid prototyping

There are already several Rapid Prototyping/Manufacturing processes that produce a finished product in metal.

There is one machine that takes a scan of say a hip that needs replaced, and produces a titanium hip replacement from the 3D model through a Rapid Prototyping process.

Big $$$$, you bet, but the technology is out there.

There are now desktop models (that use ABS of course) selling for less than $2000. So I can see the technology and price point making direct manufacturing more and more feasible.

I agree with Walt though, there is a big realization that having the skills to build/fix things is key to the economic sucess of the US.
 

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Look up the Mcp realiser machines they print titanium....and 17-4 and in motorsport we have used them for making composite tooling....when you consider in our lifetime we walked on the moon it's not a pipedream that one day you will push a button and some machine will manipulate atoms to create an object
 

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Rockstar
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compositepro said:
...and in motorsport we have used them for making composite tooling...
I think that this is the most interesting near term possibility for 3D printing for the bicycle industry. Anyone can make high quality carbon fiber parts. The process is very simple. It is the engineering and tooling that is challenging for small production batches. 3D printed molds can facilitate the production of inexpensive carbon fiber parts by lowering the tooling costs. Designers could upload proven mold designs along with carbon layup specifications, and end users could purchase the designs(and possibly modify them) and manufacture them at home.
 

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Mtn Biker Machinist
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Love that helmet video!

I have shown that to my students, and they are blown away! That is amazing! From 240lbs of aluminum to 6.5 lbs, all in 2 setups, amazing. I would love to have one of those play with.:thumbsup:

BTW, just to clarify, that is the exact opposite of 3D printing/rapid prototyping. (Which most of you already know.)

frog
 

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forwardcomponents said:
I think that this is the most interesting near term possibility for 3D printing for the bicycle industry. Anyone can make high quality carbon fiber parts. The process is very simple. It is the engineering and tooling that is challenging for small production batches. 3D printed molds can facilitate the production of inexpensive carbon fiber parts by lowering the tooling costs. Designers could upload proven mold designs along with carbon layup specifications, and end users could purchase the designs(and possibly modify them) and manufacture them at home.
I had not thought of printing the molds for carbon fiber production. Can it make cost effective molds that can be autoclaved yet?
 
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