Is 3D Printing The Future Of Triathlon? | Custom Tri Bike Kit

Is 3D Printing The Future Of Triathlon? | Custom Tri Bike Kit


– Now, earlier this year,
you may well remember that I competed in the
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. Now, personally I knew
this was going to be a pretty epic day out, given that it is one of the
toughest events in the world, and you definitely want to see it and see me suffering. So given that I was
going to be on the bike for a good five to six hours, I knew that I needed to
attach a GoPro to my bike in order to capture everything I could. Now obviously I could
just attach that GoPro using a standard GoPro
mount onto my aero bars, but I’m pretty picky. I like my cockpit nice and clean, and I’ve already got my
bike computer on there. So, I came up with the idea of designing a new computer mount with the
GoPro attachment underneath. Now this just means that I’m going to have
to have a custom design for me for this setup, with a computer and a
GoPro mount underneath, all designed for my bars and how I’ve got them angled. Now, go back a number of years, this would be totally
unfeasible, cost a fortune, and just not be possible. But now, with thanks to 3D printing, I was just able to contact
Martyn from RaceWare, get this basically brought to life, and within a handful of
days, he’d made this for me, and I used this in Norseman
to capture this footage on screen right now. Now, in addition to this, 3D printing has totally
revolutionized cycling, in fact, sport in general. So today, I thought we’d head along to see Martyn at RaceWare, and find out a little bit more about it. (tires rumbling)
(relaxing music) (logo whirring) Okay, we’ve just arrived in
Newbury, home to RaceWare. But before we head on in to meet Martyn, let me just get you up to speed with exactly what 3D printing is. Now, traditionally if you
wanted a part or a product made, then a company would need
to make molds and tools for each of the individual
parts for that product. Now, that obviously takes time, but also costs them quite a lot of money. So they want to recoup those costs, so they want to make sure
that product is needed, it’s desirable, and it
can be mass produced to sell and make back those costs. That’s not going to bode
too well for my custom mount that’s being designed
for me, for my needs, and for my setup on my bike. But that is where 3D
printing does come in. Now, back in 1986, there was actually a
chap called Chuck Hull, who came up with the idea of layering inks on top of each other to create a three-dimensional
model, 3D printing. Now, the processes, the materials have changed
somewhat since 1986, the fundamentals remain the same. The key being that we don’t
need these tools or these molds to create the product. So this has made way for
small runs of products, maybe even a one-off
product or a prototype, such as my mount. So, let’s head on in to see how it’s made. (upbeat music) Hi, Martyn. Now Martyn is the founder
of RaceWare components, and we’ve actually, well, we
haven’t come into RaceWare, we’ve actually gone next door to 3T-am. So, talk us through why
we’re in the premises next door to RaceWare? – So, 3T-am are one of the world’s leading active manufacturing bureaus, have been around for 20 years now, and are really at the
forefront of their technology. So, it’s not by chance that
my office is next door. These guys for me were
the main people to come to for producing the components, and the relationship works really well, being so close geographically means I can get my parts quicker as well. Any problems, they’re
right next door to me, so it works very very well
having them as my rider. – Yeah, and it’s these machines behind us that you’re utilizing, and we’re here to talk about today. – That’s correct, yeah. So all these machines here
are 3D printing machines building in nylon material, and the one behind me is actually running one of
your components at the moment. – Cool, so how do they actually work? So what is the process involved? – So, it’s a layer based process, and these industrial printers are very different to the home ones, in as much as they’re
done by heat and lasers, and you have a bed of loose nylon powder, and the layers are reduced to locally melt the 2D contour of the component, then that component is dropped down by .12 millimeters of a layer, layers in this process, not always .12, but in this case it is. And then, new powder is
drawn across the top, and then another layer is printed, and it’s repeated until you
get the component built. – And you can do just
small runs on here I guess, so it’s maybe one product?
– Yeah, you can. Yeah, you can do one-offs,
you can a hundred-off. Generally you’d tend to do a large run because it’s economically not very viable to do just a one-off part, but you could do a one-off part. – Say, for instance, we were
going in the wind tunnel, we were doing some aerodynamic testing. You could literally make a few iterations, pop back in, redesign, change it– – Yeah, exactly. – So yeah. – Yeah, so there’s no tooling, and there’s no kind of
upfront costs for a one-off, as opposed to a 10-off. So, yeah, you can do various iterations, and they’ll be the same
kind of price each time. – Yeah, which is amazing, because I guess traditionally you’d be kind of waiting for months, maybe years, for tooling, then the production model, whereas you can just
turn it around quickly. – Exactly.
– But not just prototypes, these are finished
products that you can use, going to world pro-tour teams, and they are literally using them in the likes of Paris-Roubaix, which is like the harshest
environment I guess. – It is, yeah, and generally the feedback is very good. So we like to try and
make sure that our parts are functioning right at that top level. (uplifting music) – So whilst we leave the
machines to do their thing, we’re going to head back
over to Martyn’s office to find out a little bit more about the initial stages
to the 3D printing process. – So on the screen behind,
we have the CAD model for a mount we were
looking at on your bike, and that’s the start of the process. The CAD design is the first place. After you’ve done the CAD modeling, that’ll be sent to a 3D
printing bureau such as 3T-am, and they would then prep
that ready for build. So it would be put onto a
theoretical build platform, and there’d also be some
scaling applied for shrinkage, and then that scaled file
would be sliced into the layers and sent as a package of eight to the machine ready for printing. – With other products?
– Exactly, yeah. So you would rarely print
something on its own. It would be with a vast
array of other products, probably from other customers
to fill their machine. – Or iterations, I guess? – Or iterations, yeah, or a combination. – Yeah, brilliant, and I’m actually interested in sort of the materials that you’re using here, because this is, I mean
this is a tough material. What is it? – So that’s basically a nylon 12, and the properties for
nylon 12 are really good for most of the bike parts that we do, and it lends itself very well. It’s quite a flexible material, so you can make nice hinged
parts for going around bars. It’s fairly soft, so it shouldn’t
damage any of your bars, shouldn’t scratch them, and it also shouldn’t
damage any of the computers you’re putting on there, so if anything does get damaged, it’s likely to be the cheaper mount, rather than the expensive computer. We can offer other nylons, and also titanium, such as this piece, which is a printed titanium chain catcher. The downside with the titanium is it’s still vastly expensive, but the options are always there. – Great, and I mean this is
not quite a finished product, there’s a couple more stages after these come out from
the 3D printer, right? – That’s right, yeah. So, that one’s a semi-finished product, but you still have to put
in some stainless bolts and some brass-threaded inserts
to clamp it all together. – Cool, and a bit of
coloring, at some point. – Yeah, a bit of coloring. That one’s obviously black, but we can do most colors, and we can also do custom paint as well, to an exact Pantone or our reference. – Fantastic, and just lastly, I mean, how did you get into all of this? What was the starting point? – So for me, I’ve always
been a keen cyclist, and my TC bike, I’d spend
hours making it look as nice and sleek as possible, but the SRM mount was horrendous. They just, nobody made one
for an oval shaped bar, so… – Oh yeah, this is it here, right? – Exactly, that’s the one
there, so I used some CAD, and got one 3D printed. It went almost viral really
on the Weight Weenies forum, and suddenly I found hundreds of people wanted them almost overnight. So it went from one SRM
mount to almost a business. – Brilliant, well on that note, shall we go and see how it’s getting on? – Certainly. (upbeat music) – Okay Martyn, so we’ve
got the product out. I mean this doesn’t look quite
like the finished product so it’s got some powder on it. What’s going on here? – Yes, that’s right. So when the part is built, it’s built with powder all around it, so when it comes out of the machine, you have kind of this
loose debris of powder which is collected from
the printing process where you do the layer-by-layer stages, and one you’ve removed it from the machine you then have to blast this. Blast it with air and a light media just to remove the powder, but making sure we don’t damage
the part at the same time. No discoloration, no burning, and then effectively that
part is then finished for all intents and purposes. But if you want to enhance the finish, or make it smoother and get
rid of some of the build lines which you’ll see, then you can put it through
a secondary process, where it will vibrate
through a finishing process to give that nice smooth feel to it. – Brilliant, well we best
go and pop it in there then. – Certainly. (relaxing music) – So here it is, the
finished 3D printed product, which I’m honestly super grateful and fortunate to have had made for myself. But don’t just assume
that this kind of thing is only open to the elite or
the super-wealthy out there, because this is becoming more
and more readily available. In fact, just going through one of the triathlon
transitions last year, I saw tons of this kind of
thing made for both pros and age-groupers. So really cool, I hope you have enjoyed today’s video. It’s been really interesting. Perhaps there’s scope for a GTN 3D printing project in the future, who knows? If you’ve got any ideas, drop that in the comments section below. If you’ve enjoyed today’s
video, hit the thumbs up button. If you’d like to see more from GTN, just click on the globe and subscribe to the channel. If you’d like to see our Kona tech tour, if tech is your kind of thing, you see that by clicking just down here. If you’d like to see our
Roth transition tour, you can see that by
clicking just down here.