From Powder to Production: Empire's Printed Titanium Bikes

Sep 24, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
Filmed in Austria, this edit shows that Empire are once again leading the way in mountain bike technology. Based on our class-leading MX6-EVO, we wanted to see what the possibilities were, and while a challenging and difficult project, the results have definitely exceeded our expectations.

Read about printing titanium here.



Discover more about Empire bikes.

Author Info:
pinkbikeaudience avatar

Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,475 articles

94 Comments
  • 164 6
 Um anyone else think this video was pointless to watch?
  • 23 3
 Waki leaks should have a field day with this one
  • 30 2
 The point is, they printed this frame. In titanium. And it was rideable off-road albeit on easy terrain. I think that is pretty awesome on it's own, not because of actual biking, but for the technology in the frame making. It might be 5 years before they perfect this enough to sell frames to the public. Although who knows by then you might be printing your own. Even if they never make sellable frame, the possibilites for testing prototype frame design in such a rapid manner is a big win for both frame manufactures and those ultimately buying the frames.
  • 36 0
 That video was 90% foliage shots
  • 2 1
 If they got those kind of 3D printers in like staples. Smile
  • 6 1
 Unconvinced don't get me wrong I think the idea is great no welded seems essentially no weak points on the frame. How the bike is engineered is how it's printed. I just thought they could have made a better video to display their product...
  • 3 0
 i recon it does have seams...check out the final shot of the bike's top tube- shows lines that look a lot like seams to me! would that kinda negate much of the advantage of being able to do this?? i dont know enough about it to call it. the nice shapes around the seat tube are pretty tho, and its definitely a pretty cool innovation.

it kinda seems like tho that in a world dominated by carbon fiber, this is destined to be a sharp axe in a world full of scalpels.
  • 4 2
 I looovve foliage
  • 5 2
 I'm having trouble figuring out why you think this video is pointless. It shows the first real, usable 3d printed mountain bike in action.

Apparently none of you remember this article.

www.pinkbike.com/news/Worlds-first-3D-printed-bike-2014.html
  • 2 1
 Just a nice commercial for Austria ;-)
  • 6 2
 i am confused about the video?

Thought I was going to see some cool video showing how they made their printed titanium bike frame?

Instead some lame video showing a guy paddling across some flat trails...

I've noticed the link in the article, it goes to Wikipedia?

very confusing, what is Empire's input into this article....
  • 1 1
 Plus, the guy didn't secure his helmet!
  • 2 1
 @hampsteadbandit there has already been an article (that I posted in my comment) explaining about their 3d pinted frame (with pictures and video of the 3d prints) this is a follow up video showing the bike in action. Not sure what else you are looking for, a tour of their factory?
  • 4 1
 The reason I think the video is pointless is the face it's just a guy tooling down some flat trails. If your trying to sell an all mountain/enduro style bike you should maybe take the bike through a little more technical terrain to show the durability of such a product. I understand the bike is essentially pieces slipped onto each other at this point but with the precision of the printer make it an interference fit and either heat soak the fitment or cryogenically shrink fit it together to make it more structurally sound. But riding a 6" travel bike on flat xc trails and showing a bunch of bushes isn't going to convince anyone to want a 3d printed bike.
  • 1 4
 Proof of concept and its made with a process not yet suited to make heavy duty frames. Its also an expensive prototype. In a couple of years bikeparts will be printed, sintered, cured and machined in a mix of titantium, carbon and ceramic. That`s when it will get really interesting and thats why the current cheapocarbo is just awful.
  • 1 0
 3D printing of this nature has HUGE energy consumption issues, the first empire 3D rinted frame cost nearly 10K to produce. Energy cost is always going to be high and as a result these frames will not be economically viable.
  • 2 0
 on the plus side, the frame would fit in a 5 dollar flat rate box once you take it apart. Some Assembly Required! Use ALL bolts upon assembly.
  • 3 0
 @frdh

the point about this article "From Powder to Production: Empire's Printed Titanium Bikes"

it assumes you have already seen the previous articles you mentioned - which I obviously missed.

I watched this video and it told me nothing about their bike, production or processes which I was genuinely interested in, and the pedestrian nature of the riding in the video did not sell me their bike, but looked like the rider was scared to go fast in case it broke!
  • 2 0
 Frdh, yeah a tour of the factory or some cool time lapse footage of the process woulda been way better.
  • 2 0
 A 1 minute video of them printing parts the bike would be f-in awesome!
  • 23 1
 Apparently the 3d printing process smells like waffles.
  • 9 0
 I toured a titanium 3D printing facility with a class. It smelled delicious.
  • 13 2
 now that's some damn good insight... insight: what the video should have contained
  • 18 2
 That promo video is utter shit! The bike looks cool though. Serious amount of customization options!
  • 6 7
 that is the uglyist bike i have ever seen it belongs up there with the new demo lol
  • 2 3
 HEY! no bad talk about new demo
  • 9 0
 A bike printed with a Frick'n lazer man...Cool.
The printing "titanium link" to wiki was wwaayy better than the video tho.
Looks like at some point , all the armchair bike designers will be able to print out thier own flawed frames and parts. Nice.
  • 12 0
 was he taking a leak in the bushes at the end of the video?
  • 10 2
 it would take a lot more than a helmet and some knee pads to get me on this bike. of course i said the same thing about carbon fiber.... 15 years ago.
  • 12 1
 As unknown as they are outside the UK Empire frames are always built solid, if they're willing to put their name on it I'd ride it. Besides, there are 3D printed ti parts on production bikes already from Charge.
  • 1 1
 trek used to build really solid frames also, and then they created the trek Y. as far as i know, charge is only 3d printing titanium drop outs. i am more concerned with a high stress application such as the head tube/top tube/down tube junction.
  • 1 0
 Seats parts and such aswell
  • 8 0
 I was expecting to watch a high intensity high speed demo of this bike, instead I watched an insanely boring advertisement for uvex googles...is that right?
  • 6 1
 Empire, I would show a video of you printing the frame, then puting it together. Once that is done, show a rider putting your product to the test. Just a suggestion from someone that knows the Marketing and sales world very well. Good luck with you product.
  • 6 2
 To Empire Bikes,

How many hours to print all of the pieces to make this bike?

How many hours to cut and TIG together a couple normally manufactured Ti tubes to make a Ti bike?

Is there any value add for the customer with a 3D printed bike? Just marketing?

From,

Curious
  • 14 2
 How much do you have to pay the machine per hour? Is there any value added to incomplete thoughts? Just rhetoric?
  • 9 2
 Titanium's a total pain in the ass to wrk with, it requires a very skilled worker to weld, if this machine can easily make titanium products, then that saves on a lot of labour costs. On a side note, why was the rider using a full face...?
  • 4 0
 The powdered metal costs £1k a kilo.
  • 25 1
 I'd wear a fullface if I were riding a prototype bike that just came out of a 3D printer.
  • 2 0
 You'd be able to produce shapes that could be considerably stronger than simple tubes by printing. Even hydroformed tubes have limits that 3D printing can blow out of the water in form complexity / sophisticaton.
  • 1 0
 Who knows what is inside? Perhaps a honeycomb structure? Wouldn't that be cool! So many possibilities!
  • 8 0
 Damn technology, you crazy.
  • 8 0
 yeah mr white yeah science
  • 6 0
 Man… if I wanted to watch riding filmed with tri-copter all in slow-mo I would have just gone to EpicTV.com … Show us how there made and why I need to buy one...
  • 7 2
 Really need a full face for that... The frame technology however is awesome
  • 4 0
 frankly, i'm surprised he wasn't wearing full body armor.
  • 1 0
 Ever had a frame snap on you? I'd be wearing a cricket box too Smile
  • 1 0
 yes i have actually.
  • 7 1
 Dude's gotta lose the full face and put some air in his fork
  • 7 2
 worst vid I've seen in a long while... nothing excited me at all apart from the video ending
  • 1 0
 I checked this very bike out at the London bike show last year, extremely cool, very very clever technology and engineering to make this work (not just a case of printing it out and you are done, it has to be engineered in the printing process with supports)

Very friendly company and the bike is beautiful in the flesh and if i remember right, its over built (something like passing the CEN tests 6 times over) so no worries about strength.

If they get it to production, i'll be all over it
  • 1 0
 would've preferred them showing the frame under some serious stress testing instead of a meander down manicured path. No offence Empire: i'm liking the idea of using 3D printing, but it would be more convincing if you subjected the frame to some ridiculous testing against a competing brand, any brand.
  • 2 0
 At least you know it won't bend like some other reputable manufacturers of aluminum..................unrelated thought Apple inc should really look into titanium printing.
  • 3 0
 So riding a 3d printed bike makes you ride like a stiff turd. Terrible video.
  • 4 1
 How do you print metal! Mind Blown!
  • 1 0
 It would be sick if someone came out with a free design for a 3d printed bike frame. Like what they are doing for certain parts of guns.
  • 1 0
 That's why we can't have nice things...people can freely 3d print gun parts, while I still have to pay $40 for a f*cking derailleur hanger that fits my bike, instead of being able to go to a tool library and print one for free
  • 3 0
 How much would a titanium printer cost though.....
  • 4 0
 Not sure. But Im sure it could pay itself off. lol
  • 3 0
 Uvex and Renthal got more exposure in that video than the bike itself.
  • 5 2
 1992 called.... they want their bike back!!!
  • 1 0
 This may have skewed our expectations for testing prototypes...

www.pinkbike.com/news/vinny-t-prototyping-b-sides-scott-gambler-2014.html
  • 1 0
 Looks like one of those ugly old norco vps. The concept is awesome though! It Could potentially make high end bikes more affordable for everyone.
  • 1 0
 the real news is empire created the impossible Ti alloy, more dense than lead and makes you stick to the ground.
  • 1 0
 they show maximum possible impact after which this frame can survive. 3d printing still a crap because of small strength.
  • 2 0
 Looks like he's taking a whiz in the end. (great-looking bike!)
  • 5 3
 Well that was a waste of time!
  • 3 1
 Is he peeing in the bushes in that closing shot?
  • 3 0
 full face really?
  • 2 0
 Wow this was gnarly, VOD!.


Wink
  • 1 0
 I think they forgot to post this.. empire-cycles.com/article.php?xArt=31
All the real info is in there.
  • 1 0
 Do we buy a bike if it's made from super techno babble... Or its it's actually any good?
  • 2 0
 Seems like more of an advert for Renthal than anything else.
  • 1 0
 In the future, I am looking forwards to having made to measure frame, cranks, pedals, seat, bars etc.
  • 1 0
 I love solid controversy on PB! comments are quite fun to read. Thanks Empire
  • 1 0
 This is the future!! Wheel size is what's happening now,3D printed frames is what's next.......
  • 1 0
 Why the full face helmet?
  • 1 0
 WOW I have to not get this ride!
  • 1 1
 so hen ive got a 3d printer i my garage, 20 years time? ill just be building my own bikes :-)
  • 3 2
 I nominate it for video of the year! (Sarcasm)
  • 1 0
 Ah I just love when joeys drag their brakes down a mountain
  • 1 0
 Super cheesy video with funny as hell comments. Thanks guys!
  • 1 0
 Whoever owns empire bikes has more money than sense.
  • 1 0
 That's it? That video did no justice!
  • 2 2
 Anyone know the song please Big Grin
  • 1 1
 Another hyper expensive thing on the mtb market. Unless I'm mistaken...
  • 1 0
 ya ill pass
  • 1 3
 WHEN NOT HEN, CLUCK
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