That should bring the cost of frames down!
i think there was a thread on this a couple weeks ago. anyway, i still find it fascinating... hope i live long enough to see it succeed.
you might want to try the word "sintered" or "sintering" in the search. i think one or the other was used.
Didn't find anything on 'sintered', but given Bike Forums search feature, that doesn't mean it's not there.
There have been some folks in the last few years that printed up, well, to use standard terminology, the 'lugs' and then joined them with standard tubing sections (similar to the construction of the old ALAN bikes), but this is claimed to be the first time anyone has printed an entire frame.
Maybe this is the technology the Kirk Precision bikes have been waiting on.
people don't always call the metal 3d printing "sintered," and the search on here is horrible. I think the previous story that was making the rounds was about 3d printed lugs. Not sure this is the greatest application for 3d printing, fatigue would be a real concern for me.
Sintering, as I understand it is metal that is made up of particles but then fused under heat (apparently) the correct term is "diffused". Laser is used for this purpose when printing with Ti. Apparently it is as strong as machined ti, though machined products are not necessarily as strong as tubes, where you want a tube. This process allowed them to shape the tubes though.
Cool thing is that this is the first technology I have seen that actually provides a modern looking frame while at the same time allowing the designer to fit body types at will, and modify structure to fit the use at will.
The material is titanium powder which is then fused using a laser. The finished material is nearly as good as machined titanium. Do not be looking for cheap, easily customisable frames anytime soon though, the machines start at 800k, and whoever invests in one will be looking to pay back that investment sooner rather than later. Pretty cool tho and I want one.
There are a lot of advantages to 3d printing, but there aren't a lot of parts on a bicycle that aren't as light as possible given the properties of the material used to make them. This is why cheap bikes are heavy, the materials used are weak, so you need to use more to get the needed strength. The surface finish and defect population of 3d printed objects is still quite a bit more than that of a forged or cast part, so they are going to have to be heavier. I see this technology as being more useful in parts that are not under fatigue loading.