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Meet Industry's 3D-printed titanium bicycle (pictures)

The Solid bike, which includes a built-in navigation system and accompanying smartphone app, was created to assess new trends in product development and manufacturing.

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Stephen Shankland
Industry Solid 3D bike
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Titanium bike parts, fresh out of the 3D printer

Design firm Industry embraced 3D printing to build a titanium bike it calls the Solid. The technology can't yet produce an entire bike, but Industry used it to make 90 percent of the Solid bike's frame, including these complicated elements. 3D printing will usher in an age of products tailored to individual body shapes and sizes, the company believes.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Industry's Solid 3D-printed bike

The Solid bike is designed for urban transit -- but its real reason for existence is to let Industry suss out future design, engineering and manufacturing trends.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Life-size sketch of Industry's Solid bicycle

To design the Solid bike, Industry staff combined full-size drawings, computer-aided design software from Autodesk and 3D-printed prototype parts.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Solid: a bike with a mobile app

The Solid is accompanied by an app to explain the bike and plot interesting bike routes through Portland, Ore., where Industry is based.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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3D-printed plastic prototypes

Prototype elements were 3D printed out of plastic to start with.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Get a grip: 3D-printed titanium parts

The Solid combined 3D-printed components like this handlebar grip and brake lever with conventional titanium tubing in some areas, such as the rest of the handlebar. Industry aimed for a sleek design by routing cables inside the frame; the brake cable can be seen entering the handlebar right next to the brake lever mount.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Printed titanium parts in the rough

3D printing uses a process called laser sintering to fuse titanium powder into parts. Once the parts are 3D printed, finishing touches like smoothing and polishing are applied.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Industry Solid's built-in rack

The Industry Solid has mounting points to attach a custom rack.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Putting a finish on Industry's Solid bicycle

Despite the aid of 3D printing, the finishing process took a lot of manual labor.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Finishing the Solid's stem

The finishing process changes the dimensions of the 3D-printed parts, one aspect of the manufacturing process Industry wanted to study.

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Brains of the bike

The Solid has its own GPS electronics for navigation and stolen bike recovery, as well as a small Arduino-based computer. The computer sends buzzing signals to one handlebar or the other when it's time for a rider to make a turn in that direction. The buzzes get more insistent as the turn approaches.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Industry brainstorming room

Industry wanted to study new high-tech areas of design, but it also used traditional paper sketches and printouts to sift through design options.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Iterations: Solid bike frame ideas

Industry considered a range of bicycle frame options for the Solid bike.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Ti Cycles welding the Solid

3D printing can't yet make a whole bike frame. Industry relied on a partner, Ti Cycles, to weld components together and stress-test the result.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Industry Solid 3D-printed titanium bike

The Solid bike has a clean look because gearshift and brake cables are routed inside the frame.

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Industry Solid transmission

The Solid uses a Shimano Alfine Di2 11-speed rear hub and a Gates carbon belt drive.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Built-in dynamo-powered headline

The Industry Solid includes a built-in, dynamo-powered headlight so riders don't have to mess with batteries.

Industry Solid 3D bike
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Smartphone app to explore by bike

A smartphone app is designed to get people to explore sights in Portland, Ore., by bicycle.

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