Czech researchers and Renishaw develop 3D printed scooter

Engineers from the Technical University of Ostrava (VŠB -TUO) in the Czech Republic and Renishaw, a UK based 3D printer manufacturer, have collaborated to create the first 3D printed scooter with a stainless steel bionic frame.

Seeking to commercialize a new way of production in the future, the partners created this scooter, weighing an estimated 3.5lbs,  with a hollow frame consisting of four parts. The frame was 3D printed on a Renishaw AM400 3D printer while the plastic platform was produced on an EOS P 396 3D printer.

“Our prototype is about a quarter of a lighter than if it was made by the traditional method,” said Marek Pagáč, Professor in the Department of Machining, Assembly and Engineering Metrology, VŠB -TUO, and leader of this project.

“Besides saving the material we have made the parts lightweight and hollow. We also put the greatest emphasis on the attractive scooter design and its distinctive sporty look.”

The 3D printed scooter. Photo via VŠB -TUO.
The 3D printed scooter. Photo via VŠB -TUO.

A lightweight, 3D printed scooter frame

Partly funded by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, the 3D printed scooter frame was made from 316L-0407 stainless steel powder. This material exhibits high hardness and toughness, and high corrosion resistance. Although the frame was designed (in Netfabb) in four segments and then 3D printed; the parts were then joint together using traditional welding methods.

“We wanted to go by something that has not yet been realized,” added Petr Štefek a VŠB -TUO engineer. “Scooters are currently experiencing revival, many people are driving on them, which was also attractive to us.”

The 3D printed scooter is the first prototype from the team using additive manufacturing. At present, the VŠB -TUO team is developing a second-generation scooter in which a 3D printed frame can be produced in one piece. This will reduce welding costs as well as production time.

This improved model is set to be unveiled at the International Engineering Fair in Brno this October.

The 3D printed scooter frame. Photo via VŠB -TUO.
The 3D printed scooter frame. Photo via VŠB -TUO.

Additively manufactured bike frames

In 2014, Renishaw teamed up with Empire Cycles to manufacture the what is said to be the world’s first 3D printed metal bike frame. More recently, BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Campus in Germany displayed a 3D printed chassis of a BMW sports bike.

Additionally, Pinarello, a bicycle company based in Italy, used metal 3D printing to create a unique handlebar design for Tour de France cyclists Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

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Featured image shows the 3D printed scooter. Photo via VŠB -TUO.