Headmade Materials, inventor of the metal 3D printing process Cold Metal Fusion (‘Metal SLS’) and Element22, manufacturing specialist for titanium parts, have teamed up again to additively manufacture titanium components for frame builder Tom Sturdy’s Fiadh titanium road bike. That’s what Tom Sturdy had in mind when he developed the Fiadh model. The innovative and technology-loving frame builder from England has already gained a lot of experience with the additive manufacturing of metals and immediately recognized the added value of Cold Metal Fusion technology (CMF) for his custom bicycles.
The Fiadh is a sporty road bike that doesn’t shy away from high speed. It’s very light and responsive, thanks in no small part to the weight-optimized titanium components made with CMF technology. Incidentally, Fiadh (pronounced fee-ah) means “wild” or “free,” which also fits perfectly with the design possibilities of an additive design. The frameset consists of connectors additively manufactured with CMF technology, which are welded to polished tubes. These connectors accommodate all major bike components, such as the handlebars, saddle, and bottom bracket. The chainstay is even made entirely of components additively manufactured with CMF technology. Also, the crank arms, which Sturdy now distributes as part of a standalone crankset too, are made with CMF.
The individual segments of each bike are very similar in structure and design, but no two are alike. Through a concept of connecting parts tailored to the rider, all components are different in their dimensions, which has become economically feasible in high volumes with CMF technology. Of the Fiadh, Sturdy Cycles aims to produce annual quantities in the triple digits.
“Since Headmade Materials is very closely involved in part development, Tom highlighted the advantages of our technology to us during a conversation”, said Applications Engineer Andreas Schertler, Headmade Materials. The advantages of the CMF technology are mainly reflected in the excellent process stability and the resulting repeatability, which leads to easier and more efficient frame and part production for Sturdy.
Furthermore, there is less stress in the metal parts compared to SLM parts. The improved part surface greatly simplifies surface finishing, as CMF technology does not require support structures to be mechanically removed from the part. For Sturdy, the reduced amount of preparatory work compared with SLM components means a significant gain in efficiency, as components, can be integrated into the bike manufacturing process much more quickly. In addition, better component quality means that most of the work can be done on-site at Tom Sturdy’s production facility, reducing costs and coordination with service providers.
“The production of the components has now been completely taken over by titanium specialist Element22 and we are happy to contribute with our Cold Metal Fusion technology to ensure that these dreamlike road bikes from Sturdy Cycles find their way to many satisfied customers”, said Managing Director Christian Fischer, Headmade Materials.