DIY bamboo bike-building kit may add an option for home 3D-printing of parts

Bamboo Bicycle Club
© Bamboo Bicycle Club

The Bamboo Bicycle Club is working on a system that would allow people to 3D-print their own custom frame lugs at home.

The Bamboo Bicycle Club is already helping people build their own eco-friendly bamboo bike frames, through both hands-on workshops and home building kits, but the next step in the DIY revolution from this organization might be to enable people to 3D-print the crucial components at home.

Currently, the Bamboo Bicycle Club offers complete bamboo bike building kits starting at £260.00 (~$370 USD), which are said to allow those with some basic DIY skills and the space to build in the opportunity to construct their own road, track, or mountain bike (or even a tandem) at home. The kit includes the bamboo pieces as well as the machined parts, such as the dropouts, the bottom bracket, the frame lugs, etc., and a frame jig and other assorted parts and pieces needed to construct a bicycle.

"Against a tide of mass consumption, we believe that in the future people will choose and customise more and more, to create the ideal product for them. Bamboo is the most accessible bicycle material and provides incredible properties for creating the perfect bicycle you will love."

In the near future, one more element of building a bamboo bicycle will be put into the hands of aspiring bike builders, because the team is prototyping a home 3D-printing alternative for creating certain crucial elements of the frame. The Bamboo Bicycle Club just finished a successful 3D bike printing workshop at the Design Museum, in which the team designed, printed, built, and rode the first ever 3D printed bamboo bike, built using carbon fiber reinforced frame lugs, thanks in part to support from a Kickstarter campaign.

"The ultimate goal is to prototype a bike that can easily be replicated by anyone; at home, at school, or anywhere in the world."

According to an interview on FastCo.Exist, when the 3D-printing aspect of the Bamboo Bicycle Club initiative is ready for prime time, a custom bike, once only affordable by a few, can be built using about $20 worth of bamboo and somewhere between $150 and $200 USD in other materials. That could mean that riders could be in the saddle of a bike built to their own exacting specifications, which James Marrs, one of the Club's members, refers to as "kind of the holy grail" for cyclists.

"Imagine a world where you can create your own home-grown bicycle; and customise it for snow, cargo, or even with 100mm tires. This is the concept that we are trying to pioneer, using 3D printing technology, which will rapidly become a commonplace and low cost tool. This technology is incredibly important to the future of bicycle design, as it enables materials to be produced locally, whilst making the most of local sustainable materials. This minimizes the current market dependence on imports and the embodied energy in the mineral extraction, manufacturing process and shipping of traditional metal frames, profoundly decreasing the carbon footprint of your average bike."

Find out more at Bamboo Bicycle Club.

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