Monday, June 17, 2013
Is 3D Printing the Future for Mountain Bikes?
If you’ve been following the news out of SXSW this year you know the big story is the rise of 3D printers and scanners, bringing small-scale manufacturing to the desktop for the first time. Which got us thinking: what will this mean for mountain bikes of the future? Here are some ideas.
Get any part you need at any time
Home mechanics know this situation all too well: You just installed a new fork and you’re all ready to button everything up but realize you need a couple more spacers. Or you replace your derailleur cables and can’t find the stupid ferrules. If you had a 3D printer at home, you could just download a design file and get the exact parts you need and you could even customize them. Instead of using a stack with 3, 5, and 10mm spacers, you could print out a single spacer that’s exactly the size you need.
Even if 3D printers don’t filter down to every home mechanic, they’ll still be a boon to the local bike shop. Instead of having to stock hundreds of tiny parts or wait for special orders to come in, shops will simply have a 3D printer and access to design files directly from all the bike manufacturers. Need a derailleur hanger for your Yeti SB95? No problem, the shop will just print one out and you’ll be back in business!
With 3D printers, restoring vintage mountain bikes will be even easier. Nobody makes the part you need anymore? Find someone who has the part you need, scan it, and print out a copy. Or, design a replacement part yourself before printing.
Is 3D Printing the Future for Mountain Bikes? | Singletracks Mountain Bike Blog