We’re a long way off from having 3D printers in our homes, but it’s becoming more and more common in businesses. And the technology is improving more and more, as Flying Machine is showing off with their new, 3D printed titanium bike.
Titanium is obviously a preferred metal for bikes; it’s light, it’s practically indestructible in most situations, and it sounds cool when you tell people you have anything made out of titanium, be it a bike or an escape ring. One problem, though; it’s harder to get a custom sizing than you might think.
Flying Machine has figured out a way around that problem; send them your measurements, and they’ll design the bike and make it the way you need it built. However, there are a few caveats.
All Titanium, Not All 3D Printed
To keep costs down, the frame is not printed as one piece. Instead, Flying Machine prints the custom titanium lugs and pairs them with premade titanium tubing. This actually has the effect of substantially cutting down on the costs, amusingly enough; while titanium tubing is relatively easy to find, custom titanium lugs are expensive to say the least. The 3D printing process cuts a lot of time and a lot of cost over building a custom bike out of a cool-sounding metal.
Faster, Easier, Still Pretty Expensive
That said, as any cyclist can tell you, a professional-grade bicycle is not exactly a cheap proposition at the best of times, and this is no exception: A frame will take ten days, and a full, finished bicycle will take three weeks and run you $3150. As this is done in Australia, that will be before shipping, so you might want to factor that into your plans. But, isn’t a few thousand dollars worth the bragging rights of a custom titanium bike?
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.