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We have had some exposure to 3d printing over the years and I have always worked with Iain Gilmour from https://www.3dsl.com.au .  When they mentioned they can now print in actual carbon fibre I was amazed!

I had to go along and see for myself and I have to say I was super impressed with the next level that the scanners and printers have gone to.  We have always had issues repairing dropouts due to the complex small shapes and getting a long enough strand length to give it any strength.  There are a few ways to get there, but none are perfect.  As soon as I saw this I thought lets try a dropout!

Just to give a quick very basic description of what is so different here, a normal 3D printer just melts plastic and then prints it to form a part.   I think most of us have now seen and touched something 3D printed.  These printers are totally different to this.  Firstly they use a material called Onyx which has a chopped strand carbon fibre in it.  This greatly improves the strength and stiffness of the part.  Secondly they then have an additional spool which feeds in actual carbon fibre thread and the layup is fully programable to gain maximum strength.

This .gif below is pretty impressive, it shows the high points from the scan right through to the design, layup and then the actual printing.  Check it out!

Here is the donor frame we used

The section we had scanned

The final printed part

From here we bonded the new part into the frame

We then wrapped some carbon fibre around the join and sanded it ready for paint.

The next part was to prove the concept, smash it!

To do this we bolted it to a frame jig and used a porta power to bust it. The plan of course is for the 3D printed part, the bond or the repair not to fail and the actual frame to fail first!

So where did it break?

At the bottom bracket to chain stay join. We were impressed.

The dropout, the join, the repair all faired perfectly!

This innovation in technology opens up a whole new world of replacement frame sections.  It is possible to print tube sections and we will look to do some of these and continue to innovate. In the meantime if you have a favourite frame you don’t want to throw away, it might be just for you, so look us up!

We will also look to print carbon fibre cable guides, these will be in our webstore when available.

Carbon Steed
2/142 Tennyson Memorial Ave
Tennyson 4105 QLD
Monday – Friday
8.00 am till 4.30 pm
Email: info@carbonsteed.com.au
Phone: 07 3062 2574

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