Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chinese Man 3D Prints Entire Functioning Bicycle Out of Plastic


We’ve seen a lot of unique 3D printed products emerge from the world’s most populated nation, China. 

They seem to have their hands in everything when it comes ot trying to outdo those of us in the Western part of the world. We’ve seen cars, houses and even 5 story tall buildings 3D printed by innovators in China. This weekend, at a large talent fair held in the country, there was one 3D printed creation that stood out from the rest.

There were companies on hand displaying everything from 3D printed aerial drones, with large wingspans, to robots that appeared to look and act almost exactly like humans. However, it was a very unique, bright and colorful bicycle that caught the eye of many fair attendees.

A man named Mr. Mei was on hand to showcase a 3D printed plastic bicycle unlike anything we have seen in the past. Certainly this was not the first 3D printed bike that we have covered. We’ve already seen several innovatively designed bicycles come about using 3D printing technology. There have been bikes printed in titanium, as well as those created using 3D printed joints. Mr. Mei’s bike, however, was quite different.



Built almost entirely of 3D printed plastic parts, it featured a bright green and pink frame, orange seat, red handlebars, black wheels and purple tires. It was all created using a 3D printer that cost him just 10,000 Chinese Yuan ($1612).
With the recent introduction of flexible 3D printer filaments, the possibilities of what can be created are growing at an extraordinary rate. For example, bike tires can now be printed in a softer, more shock absorbing material, while the frame and wheels can be printed in the stronger, more rigid ABS filaments. The bike seat can now be comfortable to sit on thanks to the same flexible material used to fabricate the wheels, while the pedals and handlebars remain rigid as well.

Onlookers at the fair could not believe that this bike was actually functioning, as most of them thought it was just a simple display item. However, it actually does hold the weight of a human being and can ride around with no problems. There was no word on whether or not these bicycles would eventually be coming to market or not, but with the continued development of plastic materials made to work with desktop 3D printers, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if we start seeing creations like this begin to hit the market soon.

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