The idea of DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) explores how parts can be designed specifically to leverage the expanded geometric possibilities afforded by additive manufacturing technologies. Until now this approach – implemented primarily by forward-thinking engineers – has focused on lattices and trabecular structures to reduce a part’s weight. However, this may be just a scratch on the proverbial surface as many other possibilities exist to exploit mold-less production. For example, the creation of “without-end” designs to replace complex multi-part assemblies. This is exactly what designer Steve Jenkins did in the Continuous Loop Bicycle project recently published on the Yanko Design network.
The never-ending loop that makes up the bicycle frame is about as lateral thinking as it gets as it breaks from traditional style and manufacturing. It is conceived to utilize 3D printing technology to be manufactured in a single piece, resulting in an unusual shape that is somewhat remindful of a tied up balloon animal figure.
Entirely new design approaches are sometimes strange to see and this is no different. Unlike engineers, designers can explore these without focusing solely on functionality. However the idea of producing complex parts as single objects is a key element in advancing additive manufacturing. If that is the case, the Continuous Loop Bicycle may go a long way.