Matt Clark has designed a recyclable bicycle that could benefit from 3D printing.
The Innervision plastic bicycle’s objective is to “streamline bicycle production using methods and materials that can effectively lower costs and improve quality”, according to Clark.
The prototype frame shown in the video below is made entirely from polypropylene, a highly recyclable substance found in any household.
The key innovation to this design is the two-part frame. There’s the visible outer shell, which appears to be a sleek, modern frame. Two inner pieces provide additional strength through the use of a network structure designed to match expected stress points, hence the name, “Innervision”. Clark explains:
The Innerframe design allows for lightweight construction that's extremely rigid and conducive to 3D printing. Each bike will be printed vertically in order to produce the Innerframe and outer surface simultaneously. Of course this process will provide accuracy far beyond current methods. Also, the frames will not require paint, welding or heat treatment (like traditional aluminum bikes).
Clark is still determining the best method of manufacturing the design. It’s entirely possible to manufacture the four pieces of the frame using conventional approaches, but it is also possible to make them using 3D printing. In fact, it’s likely an even more optimal design could be achieved using the complex capabilities of 3D printing, which can produce geometries not achievable in other processes. Imagine a highly complex internal network of struts that perfectly matches anticipated stresses - this would be the optimal design.
Clark has spent the past six years developing this concept, whose goal is a bike that’s manufactured “without tooling, welding, paint, heat treatments or shipping from overseas.”
That’s a goal held by many inventors who make use of 3D printing technology.