3D-Printed Airbike is as Strong as Your Aluminium Bike

Illustration for article titled 3D-Printed Airbike is as Strong as Your Aluminium Bike

We've seen all sorts of objects printed from 3D printers, but the European Areospace and Defence group (EADS) has shown off the first bike made from nylon—which they're saying could replace traditional steel and aluminium bikes due to the affordable method it's created.

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Drip by drop, each part of the bike is made from powder using the Additive Layer Manufacturing process of 3D printing, with the machine connected to a computer loaded with the CAD bike design.

Aluminium bikes are already pretty light, but EADS is saying their nylon Airbike is 65 per cent lighter. It's also more eco-friendly to produce, and due to the nature of 3D printing, individual parts can be printed easily if damaged. I really like the look of it, but that saddle doesn't look like it'd be much of a friend to my bum. [Eureka Magazine via RepRap via MAKE]

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DISCUSSION

No way. At least not for a long time. Have you ever seen a 3D printer work? It would take a day for a machine to pump out all the parts for this thing. That's a far cry from the seconds or portions of a second that it takes to form many bike parts.

They're saying "could" because they know that 3D printing technology isn't anywhere near enough YET to make parts fast enough. Sure it's possible but that's like saying cars that run on only water will replace all other vehicles.