Mountain Bike Crank Arm

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Digifacture: Industrial Design and Advanced Manufacturing - A New Relationship
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The product design, developed as one of the seven projects that comprised Digifacture (a project established in partnership with Advanced Manufacturing Services Pty. Ltd., AMS and the Center for Contemporary Design Research, UTS), was undertaken to seek new applications for the use of Selective Laser Sintering and Direct Metal Laser Sintering technologies. The research is located in the field of application and integration of additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) as a production technology. The aim of the project was to explore novel ways of utilising the advantages offered by this new manufacturing technology, practice-led through design and production of prototypes. The key performance objective in bicycle parts design is to engineer parts that are light weight but at the same time, robust and impact resistant. This outcome provides a prototype for a Mountain Bike Crank Arm made from heavy stainless steel (robust, wear resistant) designed into a complex structural form only achievable by Direct Metal Laser Sintering1 that makes efficient use of material so that the item is of a comparable weight to those made from aluminum by traditional processes. The outcome is an innovative product design for a bicycle crank arm with particular application in mountain bike. The contribution to knowledge is in the demonstrated use of emerging manufacturing technologies to develop a new high performance bicycle crank arm and other products bound by strength-to-weight ratio concerns. The project represents a practice-led research approach to defining new methods in product design in response to advances in manufacturing technology. The design was exhibited in the Digifacture exhibition, as part of Sydney Design 2010, and presented in the accompanying catalogue.
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