British cycling legend Chris Froome clinched yet another win at the Tour de France, giving him an incredible four Tour de France wins under his belt. His Pinarello Bolide time-trial bike played a major part in his journey to victory, customised with the addition of innovative 3D printed components. A key 3D printed component was a set of aerodynamic titanium handlebars and stem, which were engineered to enable Chris Froome to achieve the optimum aerodynamic position on the bike. To top it all off, his aerodynamic out-front Garmin computer mount was 3D printed too.
It’s not only Chris who’s been utilising the infinite customisation possibilities offered by 3D printing. Sir Bradley Wiggins used a set of similar 3D printed bars to cycle his way to a new world record, all the way back in 2015.
The bars and stem were created at the university of Sheffield using a process called Electron Beam Melting (EBM), this is similar, in principle, to SLS and the jet fusion technology we use. It starts with a heated, vacuum chamber and a bed of metal powder. A layer of the powder is spread across the build area and heated with an electron beam to a suitable ambient temperature. The beam is then focused to a point and used to melt the cross-sectional pattern of the product into the powder, binding the metal together. After this another layer of powder is added and the process starts again. This build the product up in layers to create a solid metal piece.
The Pinarello team have been using this tech for years now. The exciting part of this for us is that any new technology always starts at the professional level then trickles down to normal consumers. Mass customisation is now a possibility that we can achieve - please get in touch if you would like us to help you benefit from this.
For a full article on Chris Froome’s winning bike, visit GCN.