01 Aug 3D printing Airless Bicycle Tire with TPU: the BigRep project
What if it is possible to use your own bike without bringing problems and without the necessity for an unfortunate accident?
Someone has already thought and has created the first prototype of a bike tire without air and totally 3D printed.
We are talking about the German company “BigRep” that has already worked in 3D printing sector for several automotive, aerospace and transport projects for customers such as Aerobus, BMW, Deutsche Bahn, Etihad and Nissan.
How BigRap did that?
The material used is an industrial filament based on TPU, a very elastic and flexible material, and to replace the air inside the tire BigRep create a very elaborate honeycomb network that allows having a lot of elasticity and resistance to tackle most of the road routes.
Marco Mattia Cristofori, the tire designer, made a video while using it around Berlin and reported a “very easy ride”:
“We were able to replace” air “as a necessity in the tire by customizing the model to be one of a three-layer honeycomb design. According to the same principle, the design can be modified to fit the needs of specific types of cycling, such as mountain biking and road racing, or for different weather conditions and speed. Perfect design is the hardest part, “says Cristofori. Even small changes to the percentage or fill pattern can lead to different results in terms of weight and performance. bigrep.com “
What would be the advantages?
The advantages of using airless tires are countless: first of all, you can have the opportunity to travel many kilometres without ever having the need to inflate the air chambers reducing the costs and weight carried during the trip.
The idea of BigRep’s Maik Dobberack is to be able to customize the tires to suit your needs. A user could print a tire with a different internal or tread pattern to adapt to driving in the mountains or driving on the road or to manage different weather conditions: the model that uses the current tire prototype, for example, is a nested model three-layer bee suitable for urban use.
For now, it is just a prototype!
Unfortunately for the cyclists who can not wait to be able to print their own bike tire by themselves, this prototype for the moment is just a concept design that shows how the 3D printing applications are very different also in the automotive sector.
BigRep is exploring the potential of 3D printing in the field of mobility, the automotive and aerospace industry and other industries.
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Main picture: BigRep.com