Air Bike : a lightweight nylon bike as strong as steel
Parts made with this technology are 65% lighter than traditional ones but still as strong. The process use about one tenth of the material required in traditional manufacturing.
The Air Bike is made from a form of nylon as strong as steel. On a computer, a 3D model of the bike is sliced in 0,1mm thick 2D slices. After that, they use a laser-sintering process: on a layer of nylon powder, a laser trace the outline of a slice by heating the powder to fusion temperature. This layer is then lowered and another layer of powder is rolled over. The sintering process is repeated until the object is complete.
According to Eureka, “EADS says it has developed the technology to the extent that it can manipulate metals, nylon, and carbon reinforced plastics at a molecular level which allows it to be applied to high stress, safety critical aviation uses”
Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk, said: “I am proud to see the UK – through EADS and others – leading the world in the development of innovative products. Additive Layer Manufacturing, or ‘3d printing’, is a truly exciting, green, new technology, which not only enables the creation of products beyond the capability of traditional manufacturing processes, but also offers the potential to help the manufacturing sector slash its waste and carbon emissions. This is exactly the sort of advanced technology that we want to see companies investing in, here in the UK.”
You can watch a video of the Airbike on the BBC Breakfast show