The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), are making strides in the additive layer manufacturing method of 3D printing and have demonstrated the exciting possibilities by rapid prototyping a fully functional bicycle from nylon.
The process trumps current manufacturing methods on several counts, creating a bicycle 65 times lighter than the nearest aluminium equivalent with a material that is stronger than steel.
Furthermore, this bike is a good instance of how 3D printing can eventually be more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods as
“…replacement parts can be easily printed and swapped for damaged one … and the manufacturing of this bike uses one tenth of the materials usually required”
Though applied in principle to a bicycle, the development of super strong and lightweight modular components is of huge import to the aeronautical remits of the EADS.