Charge Bikes’ 3D Printed Titanium Bike Parts Production Begins

Last August, Charge Bikes started testing 3D printed titanium sections for their frames. Now, they’ve moved the process into full production mode, and it looks killer! Here’s the quick blurb from the PR:

Charge Bikes have collaborated with EADS (The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) Innovation Works, the corporate research centre for the EADS group, to produce the world’s first 3D printed Titanium frame manufacturing components using a process developed for the aerospace industry.

Expect it to show up on frames in the very near future, starting with the Freezer Ti cyclocross bike, shown further down, but first, this update from Chris at Charge:

“This is a first prototype, the dropouts are now deeper and the bolt heads now sit snugly into their countersunk recesses. Chain clearance is tight but no tighter than most bikes out on the market nowadays. The clearance certainly isn’t affected by the dropout design. There is a better picture of the dropout side-view which shows the depth on the Charge Facebook page.”

charge-bikes-freezer-ti-3d-printed-cyclocross-bike

charge-bikes-freezer-ti-3d-printed-cyclocross-bike

charge-bikes-freezer-ti-3d-printed-cyclocross-bike

charge-bikes-freezer-ti-3d-printed-cyclocross-bike

The 3D printed dropouts aren’t this bike’s only trick. The frame uses custom 3/2.5 Tange Ultimate double butted tubing with biovalized shaping to maximize stiffness in the important places. Straight seat- and chainstays keep the rear end tight for better power transfer and, while the wishbone design was originally created for their cantilever bikes to reduce chatter, this one’s all about disc brakes. It’s spec’d with 160mm front/140mm rear Avid BB7s…but the full length rear brake housing means you can easily sub in hydraulics.

charge-bikes-freezer-ti-3d-printed-cyclocross-bike

 Check out the full specs on their website.

RELATED: Raceware Direct has also experimented with 3D printed titanium stems.

Comments

CXisfun - 05/20/13 - 9:29am

This.

Steve M - 05/20/13 - 10:03am

Please tell me that chain is not rubbing and the flat head screws are not taking the load on the skewer.

eddie - 05/20/13 - 10:12am

and the non drive side dropout face if only contacting a little more than half of the hub locknut and skewer clamping surface…. design fail.

eddie - 05/20/13 - 10:22am

sorry, meant to say-

and the non drive side dropout face IS only contacting a little more than half of the hub locknut and skewer clamping surface

Between that, a sucky external cam skewer and an unpainted very hard dropout surface like titanium, I would be very worried about the wheel popping out under heavy braking and pedaling.

Honeybear - 05/20/13 - 10:36am

Yeah second to Steve M & eddie’s comments, where’s the clearance Clarence?
Those dropouts look a bit terrifying, not killer!

Gossa - 05/20/13 - 11:14am

This was a first prototype, the dropouts are now deeper and the bolt heads sit snugly into their countersunk recesses. Chain clearance is tight but no tighter than most bikes out on the market nowadays. The clearance certainly isn’t affected by the dropout design. There is a better pic of the dropout sideveiw which shows the depth on the Charge fb page.

Aziraphael - 05/20/13 - 12:23pm

These are old pics of a prototype bike. I’ve seen the newer design, which addresses these exact points. The bolts are now countersunk and the dropout is deeper Dave, Clarence’s clearance is no worse than most 10spd cassettes, to be fair. :)
To see the dropout at least, check this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=461758250578329&set=a.252622811491875.62933.143698565717634&type=1&theater

The Goats - 05/20/13 - 1:48pm

HOT Dang!!! LOVE the look of where this tech capability can take bikes.

Goats

ds - 05/20/13 - 3:38pm

They have the ability to reinforce the internal structure with 3D printing. They could create honeycomb or at least a plane reinforcement and it’s just standard tube !

Yeah yeah aerospace stuff and they the first to produce etc… BUT NO INNOVATION. The first thing if I got a hand on these production devices is to make some internal shapes that aren’t possible without 3D printing.

I don’t understand. It’s useless :sigh:

Kevin - 05/20/13 - 4:03pm

OK so they’ve not used it to produce something impossible by other means, but something difficult by other means. When you look at the website photos and section you can see that even the flat part of the dropout is hollow ! Now that is certainly not normal. A lot of machining and welding has been avoided here. Make all the complex bits from 3D printing and just weld tubes into the ends.
Start simple and work up.
On this subject of manufacturing – just look at a current hydroformed alloy full sus frame and compare to the huge long lines of welding from not many years ago. Some of the UK Marins and Whytes were more weld than metal.

Dude - 05/20/13 - 5:15pm

Very cool to see a new process for the cycling community.

3 ti rotor bolts dumb.

DeeEight - 05/20/13 - 5:58pm

Just wait till the ‘sky is falling’ nuts in the US government, especially congress realize you can 3D print in titanium (and other metals) and not just plastics, and people could print gun parts that would actually survive firing more than a handful of times… of course that you need a printer setup that costs more than the CNC machine tools you’d need to actually MAKE a gun from scratch the old fashioned way, like actual gun manufacturers do, is beyond the glaring obvious to those law makers.

PDXFixed - 05/20/13 - 10:13pm

I’m sorry, but what about this design can’t be done by a complex mold and subsequent casting?

erikeagleman - 05/21/13 - 8:05am

SIIIICCKKKK!!!!!

pigface - 05/21/13 - 10:14am

Is the weight savings of using half the rotor bolts really discernible? You’d have to be a highly tuned cyborg to tell the difference. (deleted)

Cool application of 3D printing but the execution in design is a FAIL!

Loki - 05/21/13 - 2:05pm

One piece, ultra light disc brake calipers are just waiting to be born …

jason - 05/21/13 - 8:45pm

I really hate seeing replaceable hangers on titanium bikes. If you’re going to print them, print a hanger while you’re at it.

gringo - 05/22/13 - 5:44am

Cannondale designers playing with their new 3D printer and testing the functionality / sales waters under Charge’s name….?

Ajax - 05/22/13 - 10:10pm

It looks like the chain is rubbing the right side dropout.

Marc - 06/27/13 - 10:12pm

Wow, so you basically can print titanium parts which then can be used as titanium parts for bikes? That is simply amazing! I knew it was possible to 3D print precision screws, pins etc. for industrial equipment but titanium parts? Wow!

kmb - 07/28/13 - 11:47pm

That “biovalized” tubing is straight from Colnago, just saying.

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