Toronto based industrial designer, Andrew Leinonen wanted to make his own bike frame using CAD and 3D printing.
Normally if you make a bike you need to calculate how much it will cost to fabricate a jig, the tools for the frame building and the materials for the bicycle frame itself. If you added all this up you're more than likely already reaching $600 for your first frame. However, Andrew wanted to: 'design a process for biulding bicycles that allowed an enthusiast to spend less overhead, less time on finicky details, and put the emphasis on actually designing and making a bike that you want to ride.''
The basics of what Andrew does, takes advantage of CAD and 3D printing to build custom lug sockets to define geometry and makes it possible for people to build themselves a unique custom bicycle with unparalleled design flexibility.
The lugs are 3D printed using ABS on a desktop 3D printer, in Andrews case, an UP! 3D printer: ''The resolution, part quality, accuracy and ability to print support material very easily made it perfectly suitable for the needs of this project.'' Of course, other 3D printers such as MakerBot, RepRaps or Ultimaker can do the same job.
Then the printed ABS lugs are bonded to aluminum frame tubes and reinforced with carbon fiber and epoxy: ''3D printed pieces can also be used to create 2-part molds for the carbon fiber lug reinforcements, improving both strenth and apperence.'' Additionally, since the tubes are bonded and reinforced with carbon fiber and epoxy, Andrew claims that: ''you can use whatever material you'd like for the tubing - aluminium, steel, carbon fiber, titanium, or bamboo!''
He also added: ''My goal was to shift away from being restricted by the materials required by the tools, and instead enable you to realize your personal creative vision for what you want your bike to be.''
He documented the entire project on www.instructables.com, where you get to see in detail, step by step accounts of creating the bike frame.
He later adds: ''when following these instructions and building your frame, think critically and safely and design conservatively.
So go on and take a look, maybe it's your turn to be creative at home!