One of the many benefits of using additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing, to produce consumer goods is that it offers the opportunity for mass customization. Mass customization is the ability to produce personalized products that meet customer specified needs, at or near mass production pricing.
The major limiting factor in bringing mass customized products to market is the expensive tooling required to produce these parts, and the large minimum order quantities required to make that tooling economical. Enter in Additive Manufacturing (AM).
Additive manufacturing produces anything from one off prototypes to production parts without the need for expensive tooling. Due to the layer based nature of the processes, additive manufacturing allows one to print multiples of the same part, or multiple variations, at one time. In product development, this reduces time to market by shortening the prototyping cycle. In production, additive manufacturing enables one to print customized products specifically tailored to an individual.
GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services completed the first set of custom bike lugs and drop outs for Jamie White of Métier Vélo. Métier Vélo, which translates to "craft bicycle" or "professional bicycle", is a custom bicycle design and fabrication shop based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Producing these parts in Titanium Ti-6Al-V4 (Ti64) additively allows Jamie to build bikes designed specifically for the individual fit of each rider; meaning no two Métier Vélo bicycles are the same.
Metal additive manufacturing produces part geometries not possible through subtractive or cast methods. Métier Vélo's lugs are completely hollow featuring complex internal geometries, internal cable routing, and custom mounts. For easy repair the lugs and drop outs can be un-bonded from their carbon fiber tubes if the tubes become damaged. Not to mention they look amazing!