British bicycle manufacturer Sturdy Cycles, based in Frome, Somerset, has announced the switch to Cold Metal Fusion (CMF) Additive Manufacturing, a hybrid laser/sinter-based process, for the production of its titanium components. Sturdy will utilise CMF technology, developed by Headmade Materials GmbH, Würzberg, Germany, via the titanium manufacturing specialist Element22, Kiel, Germany, on its Fiadh road bike.
Cold Metal Fusion technology uses a titanium feedstock that is processed on polymer Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) machines. Once the green part is built, it is debound and sintered to obtain a fully dense metal part.
The Fiadh is a sports road bike capable of high speed, with a light and responsive frame which the company attributes, in part, to the weight-optimised titanium components made with CMF technology. The frameset consists of additively manufactured connectors that are welded to polished tubes. These connectors accommodate all major bike components, such as the handlebars, saddle and bottom bracket. The chainstay and crank arms are also made entirely of components additively manufactured with CMF technology.
The individual segments of each bike are very similar in structure and design, but no two are alike. Through a concept of connecting parts tailored to the rider, all components are different in their dimensions, which has become economically feasible in high volumes with CMF technology. Sturdy Cycles aims to produce annual quantities of the Fiadh in the triple digits.
“Since Headmade Materials is very closely involved in part development, Tom [Sturdy] highlighted the advantages of our technology to us during a conversation,” stated Andreas Schertler, Applications Engineer, Headmade Materials.
The advantages of the CMF technology are mainly reflected in the process stability and the resulting repeatability, which can lead to easier and more efficient frame and part production for Sturdy. The improved part surface greatly simplifies surface finishing, as CMF technology does not require support structures to be mechanically removed from the part.
For Sturdy, the reduced amount of preparatory work has meant a significant gain in efficiency, as components can be integrated into the bike manufacturing process much more quickly. In addition, better component quality means that most of the work can be done on site at Tom Sturdy’s production facility, reducing costs and coordination with service providers.
“The production of the components has now been completely taken over by titanium specialist Element22, and we are happy to contribute with our Cold Metal Fusion technology to ensure that these dreamlike road bikes from Sturdy Cycles find their way to many satisfied customers,” concluded Christian Fischer, Managing Director, Headmade Materials.
Discover more about Headmade Materials’ Cold Metal Fusion process in the exclusive article in PIM International magazine