Quinten van Alphen and Twan Smeets along with a few other students at the Industrial Engineering and Management School at Fontys Technical University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands collaborated on a group 3D design and printing project called “De Fietsenfabriek” (“The Bike Factory”). When it came time to 3D print the scale model they’d designed of a cool city bike complete with child seat, they turned to another bicycle and 3D printing enthusiast, fellow Eindhoven resident Ken Giang.
Giang, an industrial designer who thrives on DIY projects, was brought together with van Alphen’s and Smeets’ design team by 3D Hubs. 3D Hubs is a 3D printing marketplace and community that connects people who need to outsource 3D print jobs at affordable rates with home and small-business 3D printers who offer their services. Giang operates a home 3D printing service through 3D Hubs. He uses his PrintrBot Simple Metal to 3D print small jobs, including prototypes.
Bike culture is huge in the Netherlands. There are more bicycles per capita in the Netherlands than in any other country in the world–there are 16,652,800 people and around 16,500,000 bikes. So, the prospect of combining bikes and 3D printing was exciting to Giang. Giang worked closely with van Alphen and Smeets, who was responsible for producing the CAD model of the concept bicycle they called the “BoSteck Bicycle,” to translate the original concept to a 3D printing-ready format.
The three collaborators met a few times to finalize details and decide on materials and colors for the scale model. The 3D printed scale model of the BoSteck was to be comprised of 46 individual parts, so it wouldn’t be a quick print job. The team used Simplify3D to slice the model. Giang offers customers plenty of filament options to be used with the PrintrBot Simple Metal, including PLA, woodFill, bronzeFill, and PLA-XT material from ColorFabb. Van Alphen and Smeets settled on ColorFabb Translucent Red, Shiny Silver, woodFill and bronzeFill.
The job ultimately took between 30 and 40 hours for total print time.
“The print was a challenge, looking at the amount of parts and different materials,” Giang explained. “The bicycle was scaled down to 30% of its original size, therefore making it one of the largest projects that I took upon through 3D Hubs. The global measurements of the bicycle were around 400x200x75mm.”
Giang’s PrintrBot has a heated bed, which he kept at 200°C when printing the objects in PLA and woodFill and 210°C when 3D printing the parts in bronzeFill. He used hairspray for surface adhesion. The infill was 5-10% for the majority of the parts and 20% for the smaller parts.
As with any 3D model-to-print job, there were certain challenges. Because of the relatively limited build volume of the PrintrBot, the printing had to be done in batches. Rather than standing around waiting in idle, the team 3D printed and assembled parts as they emerged. Partway through the print, the nozzle on the PrintrBot jammed “due,” recalled Giang, “to the quick swap of different ‘special’ filaments.”
He’s had that experience before when using woodFill, which “needs relatively more flow while printing” and bronzeFill, which “tends to be heavier and clogs up the nozzle more easily.” However, he changed nozzles and the problem was solved. He also recommends printing in lower resolution with woodFill; while that adds “stringing,” it prevents clogs and, he notes, the strings are pretty easy to remove when the printing is complete.
Problems aside, Giang concluded that the collaboration facilitated by 3D Hubs was incredibly rewarding, particularly the opportunity to work with other designers in his own city:
“It was a win-win situation for Quinten and his team and me to gain more experience in working on larger prints and different types of filaments.”
Let us know what you think of this impressive teamwork thanks to a 3D Hubs-based collaboration over on the 3D Hubs Scale Bicycle Model forum thread at 3DPB.com.