By Industrial Print Staff
Cargo bikes are commonly seen in cities as a practical means of transport. However, their weight is often cumbersome. To alleviate this issue, manufacturers turn to additive manufacturing (AM).
More specifically, custom bicycle designer Maniac & Sane creates cargo bikes out of fiber composite materials. Part of the design—three-dimensional (3D) printed components made up with INFINAM PA12 from Evonik.
Hitting the Street
Based in Darmstadt, Germany, Maniac & Sane was founded by Martin Fleischhauer—a passionate biker in his own right, he noticed the growing trend of cargo bikes being used in urban environments.
“Along with saving time and the effort of searching for a parking space, using cargo bikes as transportation also provides us an entertaining form of exercise. It’s no wonder we’re seeing more and more of them on our streets,” explains Fleischhauer.
With the increase in demand for cargo bikes, Maniac & Sane set out to create an ultralight solution.
As aforementioned, cargo bikes are heavy in weight. This is due to adding functional and comfortable features like padded passenger compartments as well as safety components like six-point safety belts. A cargo bike with an electric drive assist can weigh up to 60 kilograms.
A second consideration, load capacity. Standard cargo bikes built from welded aluminum can carry loads of up to 220 kilograms, however there are various materials out there—fiber composite—that are lighter but can withstand high load capacities.
“Fiber composite materials are designed to withstand extreme forces in lightweight applications. They also allow maximum design freedom. For our customers, this was important, as design and weight are the decisive criteria for or against buying a product on the market,” says Fleischhauer.
To keep pace with customer requirements while at the same time lessen the weight of cargo bikes, Fleischhauer realized AM was the answer. With Kegelmann Technik GmbH, a leader in the generative manufacturing of models, prototypes, tools, and end products, Maniac & Sane created a lamp housing and an AirTag mount featured as integral components of the cargo bike’s frame structure.
They determined powder based 3D printing technology, selective laser sintering or SLS, as the best process for the job—using the INFINAM PA12 material from Evonik. Evonik’s ready-to-use PA12 nylon powders offer properties like temperature resistance, mechanical resistance, chemical resistance, impact resistance, excellent surface resolution and feature detail, food contact compliance, and high processability in order to suite them for common powder bed fusion technologies.
Using AM and the material from Evonik, Fleischhauer and his team designed a cargo bike nearly half the weight of the bikes currently on the market.
“We are only at the beginning,” says Fleischhauer. “We want to connect our designs with the emotions and passions of our customers so we can offer them a truly personal experience with our products. Among other things, this philosophy continues to result in new features such as illuminated logos, which we are currently adding to our design concept. The versatility of 3D printing and Evonik’s INFINAM PA12 create new ways for designers to approach and implement things—and, ultimately, respond to customers’ individual wishes.”
As with all things 3D, the Maniac & Sane cargo bike project is a great example of how the technology effortlessly combines functionality with design.
Oct2023, Industrial Print Magazine