02 June 2016

From the WTF files...

I'm all for design exercises. They push the envelope, and take us to new places.
Sometimes those places are good...full of sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn farts.
Other times, those places have people who install plates, and screws, to put us back together.

Here's one that is probably the latter...

Reynolds partnered with a UK frame builder to see what could be done with 3D printing of Ti.
Now listen, I'm no engineer. Never claimed to be. What I AM, is fairly knowledgeable about bicycles. What works,,,what doesn't...what is clearly dangerous and stupid...
Let's examine the photos above (there are plenty more to peruse in the linked article)...

--The open/mesh headtube :
Cool looking. Probably very light. Stiff? not so much. After pressing in a headset, and riding the frame for a while, it seems clear that a bit of tuliping would probably occur. Not good for the orthodontic work your parents paid for so many years ago.
And the headset itself? Think it'll be crunchy after a few wet rides? (You can answer that one yourselves!)
--The top tube :
It's OPEN on the end that attached to the headtube. If it's raining, you'd never have to stop at the store for water. Simply dump the frame into your bottles. And as SpokeJunky pointed out, after a wet ride, it's a "Hang to Dry" affair.
--The BB shell :
Can't thread that one, eh? And again, I'm no engineer, but methinks that the open, mesh-like design would be problematic as far as the life expectancy of BB bearings goes. Unless, of course, one truly enjoys pulling apart the crank/BB set-up on their bike, and servicing it every, I don't know, two weeks or so. Or after every rain ride...which ever comes first.
We ALL know how dependable, and noise-free, the pressfit bearings are. BB30...cough...cough...
And this isn't really a design flaw, per se, but more a comment on craftsmanship. Who welded this thing? The welds look like the toothpaste my kids blop (it's a word!) into the sink.
Did they miter the tubes with a butterknife?
Not exactly good marketing for that builder.
This is a proper Ti weld...

As a design exercise, it's cool. It shows what can be done with 3D printing. It's the future.
Would I ride it? Sure...on a golf course. That way, when the frame fails in a catastrophic manner, there will be plenty of soft, and possibly damp, grass on which to land.

Let's just hope this big SOB isn't hanging around...

Happy Thursday!

No comments: