Using two different processes, they’re able to quickly create rideable prototypes to test many variations and then take the exact shapes into production. First, they’re using SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) to turn nylon powder into the saddle shells. The result is virtually identical to the shells of production saddles, so Giant knows essentially what the final product will feel like throughout testing.
Then, they use SLA (another process that UV laserifies a resin into a solid) to create molds for the shells and padding that would be used in production. Compared to traditional tooling and molds, this process is far cheaper and faster. Check the full article with comments from Giant’s lead industrial designer Daniel Lentz here.
We’re thinking it can’t be long before someone uses 3D metal printing similar to Charge Bikes’ dropouts to test rail shapes.
Update: The saddles were printed by ZOOMRP, in case you’re wondering.