TRUMPF’s titanium 3D printing improves bicycle manufacturing


Maker TRUMPF has produced lightweight and stable components for mountain bikes that can be cost-effectively manufactured using its metal 3D printing technology.

The 3D printed parts include high performance brake calipers with an integrated cooling structure, as well as brake levers and pedals.

The brake levers are made of titanium and weigh only eight grams, making them significantly lighter than conventionally made models. Its grid structure is designed to ensure better grip between the finger and the brake lever.

“With our 3D printing solution, we offer bicycle manufacturers an attractive alternative. They can use this technology to cost-effectively print high-quality and resistant components in series,” said Nicolas Haydt, Technology Expert for Additive Manufacturing at TRUMPF.

Christian Lengwenat, TRUMPF Application Developer, added: “The titanium we use is so strong that we need less material for the same stability compared to a conventionally manufactured component.”

According to TRUMPF, its TruPrint 3000 3D printer is capable of printing over 120 brake levers per build job. Haydt added: “The unit cost is inexpensive, amounting to around 12 euros per brake lever and shows the possibility of using TRUMPF machines to anchor the mass production of titanium in cycling.”

Cooling structures are essential to combat the risk of brake overheating, which happens when a bike is driven downhill and hydraulic disc brakes reach their limit. TRUMPF calipers contain integrated honeycomb and mesh cooling structures which ensure that parts heat up much more slowly than traditionally manufactured calipers.

The manufacturer has also produced a 3D-printed bicycle pedal, made from the same titanium as the brake lever. “Our goal was to print material only where it is really needed. It saves weight. Also, we wanted to print the so-called pins directly on the pedal axle. This provides better grip directly on the foot,” Lengwenat said.

The bearing seats for the pedal’s plain and ball bearings are also printed directly, which means manufacturers don’t have to mechanically rework the pedal. The pedal body weighs 75 grams and has passed several tests, including downhill trails in the Alps.

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