Titanium Flying Machine the Latest Bike Born from a 3D Printer

Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (1)

For years the cycling industry has been focused on carbon fiber, but lately the use of an old material in a new way seems to be gaining a lot of attention. Specifically, the use of titanium loaded into a 3D printer to create complex shapes and create a bicycle faster, and with more control. While not quite as advanced as the recent Empire Cycles MX-6 full suspension bike with the first fully 3D printed titanium frame, Flying machine is taking a different approach with the 3DP-F1 and using the technology to create custom fit titanium road bikes.

Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (5)

Enlisting the help of CSIRO (the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization) and their Melbourne Australia based Titanium Technology division, Flying Machine is able to print out custom 6AIV4 Titanium lugs quickly and without a lot of waste. The process seems similar to Charge’s printed titanium dropouts, and is likely just the beginning to the 3D printed revolution.

Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (7)

The lugs are then joined to 3AL-2.5V titanium tubing using aerospace grade super toughened epoxy, sort of a modern, 3D printing brazing technique. The use of a lugged frame design allows Flying Machine to build the bikes to order, offering custom geometry frames in as little as 10 days, and complete bikes in 3 weeks. The printing of the lugs is carried out in Melbourne, while the frame building is finished in their Perth studio.

Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (9)

Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (2) Titanium Flying Machine 3D Printer  (8)

The prototype F1 above was created for Flying Machine’s owner Matt and to his exact measurements. Production bikes will be available in a number of options and colors like the rest of the beautiful rides in the Flying Machine Line up. Pricing and availability remains to be set, but anyone interested can email Flying Machine at communication@flyingmachine.com.au for more information.

Specs:

  • Drivetrain – Gates Carbon Drive, Centretrack,  55 tooth front sprocket, 20 tooth rear
  • Hubs – White Industries M15, titanium cassette with single speed spacer kit
  • Rims – H + Son, Archetype
  • Spokes – DT Swiss, Competition
  • Tires – Schwalbe, Durano
  • Saddle – Fizik, Aliante VS
  • Handlebars – FM Custom
  • Forks – FM Custom Carbon
  • Bar Tape – Dipell, Competition, leather
  • Bottom Bracket – Bushnell Featherweight eccentric, with White Industries Ti spindle BB
  • Brakes -  Tektro, R570 calipers with RL340 levers

Comments

Dr. Badtouch - 02/03/14 - 3:44pm

I like that it’s not outrageous just for the sake of being outrageous.

wil barrett - 02/03/14 - 4:15pm

That is a f**king gorgeous bike!
Intriguing technology too, and it’s made in Aussie – that’s super rad!

ve - 02/03/14 - 4:24pm

Very retro. What a blast from the past. Lugged and bonded Ti. They even included those retro stress riser lug shapes.

ve - 02/03/14 - 4:28pm

Weren’t they doing this in the 80′s? Except with cast lugs.

Zap? - 02/03/14 - 5:53pm

@ve

Yes, Trek used similar techniques back in the early 90s to bond certain alloys of aluminum that weren’t weldable, like 7005 series aluminum. Easton made the tubing and Trek bonded the tubes together.

I'm with ve - 02/03/14 - 6:02pm

I had the same thought VE. Why go back to gluing metal bikes together, unless of course the price improves.

Loki - 02/03/14 - 6:12pm

@ve, Zap?
The key words aren’t lugs or titanium. Not even custom. Key words are 3d printer.

Ajax - 02/03/14 - 6:30pm

Epoxy = glue
Bonding = gluing

Putting frames together this way is super easy. Anyone can do it. You literally just put some epoxy glue to the lugs and push the lug onto the tube. That’s it. Seriously.

Albie - 02/03/14 - 7:50pm

“…offering custom geometry frames in as little as 10 days…”

Because I can’t cut, miter, weld, and finish a bike in six hours…

mudrock - 02/03/14 - 10:40pm

I’m guessing the use of 3D lugs makes for a heavier and stiffer frame than a conventional welded one. And why isn’t the bottom bracket enclosed?

ChrisW - 02/04/14 - 2:18am

@mudrock – the BB is open at the bottom because it’s using an eccentric BB for chain tension. Some eccentric designs allow rotation and clamping of the BB by having expanding jaws on the bottom of the BB that have bolts in them. It’s not my favorite design for an eccentric BB, but it looks to be what they’ve used here.

dida - 02/04/14 - 2:20am

BB is not enclosed because they glue in the BB shell. 3d printing inside threads is probably too difficult or too prone to stress risers.

Nice incorporation of 3d printed parts.

atganirider - 02/04/14 - 4:08am

Zap – Raleigh, in the UK, had a similar process to that subsequently used by Trek, viz “Dynatech”. This enabled a frame to be constructed with a variety of tube sets and materials. There were some very nice Ti frames made, but the company was going through financial difficulties and didn’t have the marketing heft to promote succesfullt

e - 02/04/14 - 9:37am

Could they do a virtual butting process by using straight gauge titanium tubing that is the thinnest section, then printing the lugs with an internal taper? I suppose it could save on the cost of buying butted tubing.

Also, why not print the whole headtube section? you could make some really interesting tapered headtubes like that.

Jennifer Simpson - 02/04/14 - 4:38pm

Anyone seeking titanium suppliers should visit the Titanium Resource Center at http://www.titanium.org for more information. There is also an annual exhibition in Europe and in US each year – lots of networking and an excellent forum.

Frippolini - 11/12/14 - 3:43pm

Glued lugs (bonded)… how many years does the epoxy last, any longetivity issues if anyone knows?
I wonder if they manage to gain any cost or quality advantage with this technology, or if it limits itself to small and highly customized production runs?
What warranty is offered on the frame?
Interesting. :)

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