French 3D printing company Sculpteo (link is external) recently displayed a digitally manufactured bike at consumer technology trade show CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Afterwards, the bike’s two designers set off on a 1,000km road trip to the firm’s factory in San Francisco to prove it is fit for purpose.
Sculpteo says its ‘Darwin bike’ is the first fully functional digitally manufactured bike. With 70 per cent of its parts made using 3D printing and laser cutting, they believe it serves as proof of what can be achieved with this approach.
Alexandre d’Orsetti and Piotr Widelka started working on the project at the beginning of November with d’Orsetti pointing out that the variety of components constituted a good test of 3D printing and laser cutting technology.
“This diversity of elements, with specific constraints (structure, comfort, settings, etc) allowed us to split the project into several sub-projects, and to choose, for each one of them, which technology and material would fit best.”
He added that digital manufacturing allowed them to produce finished parts, not just models or prototypes. “This means we can work with the materials and their specific characteristics, when conceiving our finished object.
“Having a real, finished object in your hands just two days after ordering it gives a great amount of flexibility and allows to go back and forth many times between different iterations until your object fits its final use.
“The bike we built is meant to keep adapting and improving according to the challenges it will face and the applications that will be made of it, as well as the feedbacks we’ll get about it.”
According to the latest update about their trip, from Friday, the two designers had been through the Mojave National Reserve and reached Bakersfield.