3D Printing Ti Components
It takes state-of-the-art machinery and world class manufacturing expertise to engineer titanium parts to tolerances of fractions of a millimetre.
Titanium is the king of metals for bicycle frames. It rides with velvet smoothness, has the same tensile strength as steel, but is 45% lighter. It’s also indestructibly durable. Titanium never corrodes – it continues to looks as good as it does on day one.
These phenomenal qualities make titanium the natural choice for key components of the J.Laverack Aston Martin .1R. The lugs, stem, crank tips, thru axles, rotor centres and brake pistons are all made from the highest grade 6/4 titanium for its light weight, immense strength, and lifetime longevity.
The .1R delivers an exceptionally responsive and comfortable ride thanks to its flawless fusion of titanium lugs and carbon fibre tubes. The lugs are parametrically designed to the unique measurements of each rider. Sophisticated design algorithms make miniscule angular changes to every lug in order to maintain the perfect fluidity of form from the smallest to the largest frame. This bespoke approach is only achievable by 3D printing the lugs.
Renishaw, the engineering specialist behind high-end motorsport, medical and aerospace applications, as well as British Cycling’s track bikes at the Tokyo Olympics, is 3D printing the titanium elements of the .1R. Accustomed to the intricacies of manufacturing bespoke plates for facial reconstruction surgery, Renishaw has the cutting-edge machinery and wealth of knowledge to produce complex titanium shapes to fractions of a millimetre. This allows the .1R to offer an unprecedented degree of made-to-measure precision. Off-the-shelf crank lengths, for example, are typically only available in increments of 2.5mm, yet a .1R owner will be able to reduce this to 0.1mm for a smoother pedalling action.
Manufacturing high precision titanium components is laborious and painstaking. It takes between 65 and 70 hours to produce one full set of lugs for the .1R. Diving deep into the technicalities of the process, a 3D printer wipes a layer of titanium powder, just 30 microns deep (one micron is one one-thousandth of a millimetre) over a sacrificial build plate. A laser then melts the titanium at 1,200 degrees Celcius, before the process repeats itself tens of thousands of times to create the component.
The non-uniform shapes of bicycle parts make this a highly complex process. Sacrificial internal supports, also made of titanium, assist the build. Once completed, the components are heat treated in a vacuum furnace, before the sacrificial supports are removed to save weight. The parts are then polished to perfection before being assembled into the .1R. Too beautiful to paint? The choice is yours.
31 Oct 2023
31 Oct 2023
The spellbinding J.Laverack Aston Martin .1R was developed from scratch, using the same processes, skill and care devoted to creating Aston Martin’s cars.