Stephanie Benoit August 31, 2016

3D Printing a bicycle is nothing new these days. But combining the 3D printing expertise and innovation of 13 companies and two research institutes is. That’s what Belgian organization Flam王D aimed to do when they organized a collaborative project aimed at informing and educating other companies and institutions about the benefits of Additive Manufacturing. And true to the Belgian passion for cycling, this project took the form of a 3D-printed bicycle!

Taking a co-creative approach

The collaborative project arose out of a simple idea. As anyone following the media in the past five years can attest, 3D Printing has experienced quite the hype. But many companies are barely aware of the very real possibilities and benefits the technology can offer them. A bicycle, with its infinite components, different materials and opportunities to modify and enhance, presented a concrete example of 3D printing technology. And two heads are better than one, which means that when 15 different organizations share their knowledge, everyone can benefit.

How Materialise was involved

As our past experiences with co-creation can attest, we’ve always realized the advantages collaborative projects can bring each party. So we were on-board with the project from the start, and we didn’t just stop at the concept level! We also developed and printed a number of parts: the saddle cover, the cranks, a universal click-on system, part of the frame and the bicycle handlebars. Our daughter company Phits even contributed a pair of custom-made shoe insoles to accompany the cyclist of the 3E bike. During the Allround Flandrien at the Zolder Race Circuit on the 27th of August, the bicycle was revealed to the enthusiastic public. Now it will go on tour around various fairs and events with the aim of demonstrating the possibilities of Additive Manufacturing to schools and businesses.

According to Kris Binon, the CEO of Flam王D, there is a real need for cooperation in the 3D printing industry:

“We need to set new standards for this amazing technology, the 3D-printing market needs maturing and therefore the focus should be on the development of a continuous outlet rather than on competing with each other.”

Only by working together with other companies in the industry can we ensure the technology benefits a maximum of people. And with Flam王D’s initiative, we seem to be on the right path.

Interested in finding out more about our co-creative projects? Read about it on our website or our blog!

All images courtesy of Flam3D