3D Printing In Action: Bringing A 12-year-old Cannondale Mountain Bike Suspension Back to Life

Find out how Solid Print3D managed to bring a 12-year-old Cannondale Mountain Bike back to life through 3D Printing.

Tom Watkins

January 3, 2020

Cannondale Bikes have always been at the forefront of design and technology. Founded in 1971, they were the first bike company to introduce mountain bike suspension. These early mountain bikes still have a big following today, with many enthusiasts paying large sums of money for original pristine models. Unfortunately, spares for these old bikes are not in manufacture. Back in 2020, we were approached by Qwerty Cycles, the UK’s leading Cannondale spares supplier, for assistance in addressing this. Our mission: 3D print a new lockout for one of their bikes.

Cannondale Bike
Cannondale Bike

The 3D Printing Process

We were provided a sample suspension lockout from an early bike, modelled it up using Solid Works and set out to produce multiple prototypes. To ensure the lockout fitted and worked as intended the first iteration was created using a Markforged X7, selected due to its high precision. Even though the X7 is a Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) machine, the X7’s prototype’s layers were barely visible and thus gave a fantastic result.

The next prototype was created using a TPU material printed on a Sindoh 2X to explore different materials available. As this had a softer feel to the lockout, the result felt too pliable in comparison to the original part that we were trying to replicate and thus was dismissed for this project.

Despite the Markforged X7’s success, we decided to print another prototype using the Formlabs Form 3. The fantastic surface finish due to the Stereolithography (SLA) process used by the printer made it look almost identical to the original. With minimal finishing work required, the Formlabs printer will now be used to print these lockouts for bicycles at Qwerty cycles.

Original lockout
Original lockout
3D Printed Formlabs lockout
The Formlabs lockout

Contact Us

We were delighted we were able to help Qwerty Cycles and offer a solution through using 3D printing. If you’re interested in using 3D printing for your business to produce anything from prototypes to production parts, contact Solid Print3D today to discuss your printing needs and receive step by step help in choosing the right printer your business.

To speak to a 3D printing expert call us on 01926 333 777 or email us on info@solidprint3d.co.uk.

Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin for the latest news on 3D printers and to see other exciting projects we’ve been a part of.

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