Canyon Bicycles GmbH, based in Germany, has produced a lightweight and sustainable 3D-printed prototype - with recycled aluminum - as part of BIKE Magazin’s ‘Ride Green’ campaign. The striking new frame design was produced by Materialise using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. Designed as a mountain bike, it has technical and eco-friendly qualities - earning itself a nomination for the 3D Pioneers Challenge Award 2022.
Designing a bike made up of fully recyclable parts was the the goal of the ‘Ride Green’ project - competitors were also required to minimise waste usage - without reducing overall part production quality. Canyon and Materialise worked together to create a concept that is geometrically optimised and fully-customisable.
Materialise say the circular bicycle frame will “keep you ahead of the peloton” due the manufacturing process. Metal powder bed fusion is the process used, which combines traditional metal properties with the flexible freedom of 3D printing - enabling efficient production of complex parts - in particular, the body and fork.
Johannes Thumm, a Canyon developer says: “The metal 3D-printed prototype represents the heart of our attempt to build a sustainable bike. The innovative manufacturing process allows for a completely new design language. Materialise was the perfect partner to build this futuristic prototype”.
The body and forks were formed using recycled aluminum through additive manufacturing and reusable powder - meeting the campaign’s sustainability requirements - and by improving the bike’s environmental impact, reducing the weight - it also offers better performance.
Additionally, one frame will take around 18 hours to print. Materialise print three pieces, at six hours each, before combining together with the forks at a total weight of nearly 2kg.
Our decades of experience with metal 3D printing and our Metal Competence Center in Bremen allow us to optimize printing processes, improve energy efficiency, and consistently recover and reuse metal powder,” says Frank Kuechelmann - marketing manager at Materialise, “recycled aluminum powder, unsintered from previous builds, enables us to create more innovative and sustainable products”.
The unique circular bike frame has acclaimed praise from designers in the 3D printing world. The sustainability of the design and ability to produce innovativeness were the main reasons for Canyon’s 3D Pioneers Challenge award nomination. Additive manufacturing combines multiple components into a free-form, lightweight part; designers are “only limited by their own imagination”.
The recent appeal of 3D printing makes it a hard process to ignore. Challenging design elements can only be replicated or created using such 3D printing techniques - and bike manufacturers have had their heads turned by the benefits of additive manufacturing in recent years.
Canyon and other major industry leaders keep analysing how the future can benefit from metal 3D printing.