May 18, 2018
BigRep has printed a full-scale 3D-printed airless bicycle tire and tested functionality on the streets of the German capital. The tire is the latest application from the Berlin-based large-scale 3D printer manufacturer, as part of the company’s focus on crafting industrial-grade solutions for the mobility industry.
Printed using BigRep’s new TPU-based filament Pro FLEX, the airless tire was a prototype to demonstrate the ease and speed at which flexible spare parts can be 3D printed. Furthermore, this application showcases the potential of 3D printing to develop new complex geometries that cannot be achieved using traditional production methods.
“We were able to replace ‘air’ as a necessity in the tire by customizing the pattern to be one of a three-layered honeycomb design,” says Marco Mattia Cristofori, BigRep product designer. “Based on the same principle, the design can be altered to fit the requirements of specific kinds of biking, such as mountain biking and road racing, or for different weather and speed conditions.”
Requiring no post-processing or gluing work, it was printed to scale as a large 1:1 object on the BigRep ONE 3D printer, which has a build volume of 1 cubic meter. Designed to match the dimensions of Cristofori’s own bicycle wheel, the Pro FLEX-printed tire has high-strength properties to withstand the conditions of city cycling.
“We have expanded our technical portfolio with a high-impact, high-temperature-resistant material in Pro FLEX, which has higher interlayer-bonding than we have ever seen before, and robust chemical resistance for a range of technical applications. There is a clear use case for flexible parts that can be customized and printed on a needs basis, across med-tech, aerospace, automotive and other industries,” says BigRep’s CEO Stephan Beyer.
BigRep engineered Pro FLEX following intensive testing to ensure ease of use. Strong print bed adhesion from this filament allows BigRep to 3D print large flexible parts without detachment issues.
For more info, visit BigRep.
Sources: Press materials received from the company.