Bicycle parts from the 3D printer at Van Raam

Van Raam thinks innovation is very important. There is a continuous search for ways to improve or even renew the special needs bicycles and the production processes. One of the innovative techniques used is printing bicycle parts with a 3D printer. Read more about the 3D printing of bicycle parts at Van Raam in this article.


HP Multi Jet Fusion HP 3D Printer Van Raam

Bicycle parts from the 3D printer

In order to be able to produce the best possible adapted bicycles, it is important that Van Raam continuously innovates. Since 2017, Van Raam therefore uses 3D printers. These days, many of the bicycles in the Van Raam range are mounted with bicycle parts that have been printed with a 3D printer. This can be a small part, such as a cover. However, it can also be a larger part, such as a lever or a cover for the chain guard for example. On almost every Van Raam bicycle a 3D printed part can be found.

Van Raam rickshaw bike Chat picnic

3D printed parts on Van Raam bicycles

The rickshaw bike Chat is the newest bike at Van Raam. This transport bike was designed in such a way, that a number of parts could be printed with the 3D printers at Van Raam. The advantage of this is that parts can easily be adjusted and there is no need to have a large stock of products and parts. These can be printed as soon as a certain part is needed.
 
At the moment, there are six types of parts (10 parts in total) to be found on the Chat made with the 3D printer. In the picture below you see some of these 3D bike parts mounted on the Chat. Below the picture you can see the names of the parts.
 

Would you like to know more about Van Raam's bicycle material? Then read the article: "What bicycle frame materials is a Van Raam bike made of?

Van Raam Chat with 3D printed parts
The parts printed with the 3D printer and where they can be found on the Chat.

The picture below shows some parts printed with the 3D printer and which can be found on the Chat. See below the name of the part and its function:

  1. Release handle mount – This is a part where the handle is attached to. It allows the footplate to be lowered, and it ensures that the pedal is released from the lock. As soon as the handle is raised, the footplate drops. The footplate can be raised again with the pedal. See also number 4 for more information about the pedal.

  2. Upper canopy clamp – Parts of the canopy can be stored here when the canopy is being folded.

  3. Lower canopy clamp – The canopy itself can be stored in these clamps if the hood is being folded.

  4. Locking spring tool - This part ensures that the pedal, with which the footplate can be raised and lowered, can be folded in while cycling. As soon as the footplate is raised again, the pedal can be placed behind the lock so that you can cycle safely.

Van Raam Fun2Go duo bike 3D printed part
The 3D printed part at the Fun2Go duo bike

Another example of 3D printed parts on Van Raam bicycles is the 3D printed cap on the chain guard of the Fun2Go duo bike. This cap is mounted on the bike if the optional 8-speed hub is chosen, this is an extra option where the co-driver can cycle at his own pace and his own gear.

Do you want to know more about the Fun2go duo bike? Then click on the button and go to our product page

Fun2Go duo bike

Why Van Raam started using a 3D printer

In 2017, Van Raam purchased a 3D printer because they saw the advantages of making bicycle parts with this technique. With this printer they looked at how not only bicycle parts, but also tools and tools for production and assembly could be made. The goal was to improve the production process. Because the printing success was great, extra printers were soon purchased.
 
Would you like to know more about the Van Raam printers and how they work? Read further and find out more about this topic! The 3D Print Magazine has also written about this. Read more in the article: '3D printer for parts of the Van Raam adapted bikes'.

The 3D printers at Van Raam

Nowadays, Van Raam has two different types of 3D printers: a Multi Jet Fusion printer and three FDM printers . Read more about these printers and the printing techniques below.

Van Raam Multi Jet HP Fusion 3D Printer
The machine on the left is the 3D printer and the machine on the right is the processing station.

The HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer

Since 2019, Van Raam has been using the Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer from HP. The machine has three parts: the printer (on the left), a mobile cart on wheels in which the parts are built. This part is integrated in the printer, but can be detached. The third part is the processing station. When the printer is ready, the parts are placed in a large container along with powder (the print material) that has not melted during printing. The processing station vacuums up the excess powder so that you only have the components left. The vacuumed powder is reused.

At Van Raam, the Multi Jet Fusion printer is mainly used for the production of parts with larger numbers. In addition, the printer is also used for rapid prototyping and the printing of tools for the production and assembly departments at Van Raam.

Video 3D printing HP Multi Jet Fusion

The video below shows how the HP 3D printer works. You can see different shapes, with the Van Raam logo in the middle. These 'shapes' are all layers that eventually become a product. Different products are printed on this plate. In the video you can see how from top to bottom (and vice versa) the recoater (a large roller) puts a layer of powder on the surface. Then, from the right side, the print head that places the ink droplets comes in and melts the material together as soon as it moves to the right again.

Benefits HP Multi Jet printer at Van Raam

  • Special software ensures that the available print capacity is filled as efficiently as possible with parts that need to be printed

  • It is one of the fastest printing processes by fusing a layer in one back and forth motion of the print head

  • This machine is suitable for series production due to its large printing capacity

  • Great design freedom during the development of the products for the printer

3D printer Van Raam logo

How the printer works

With this printer, a powder is used to build up a part in layers. Using the 'recoater', a thin layer of 0.08mm of this powder is applied. This layer is heated by infrared light so that it melts.

Then, a large print head moves back and forth over the entire layer. In the 'back' movement a black ink is dripped on the spots of the layer of powder where the material has to be melted. As soon as the print head returns, infrared light fuses the material where the ink lies. A new layer of powder is then deposited and the process is repeated.

The material that is mainly used for this technique is Nylon (PA12). This is a very strong and robust material which makes it suitable for printing bicycle parts.

With the 3D printers not only bicycle parts are made, but also tools for the production and assembly department.
DDDROP FDM 3D printer Van Raam
The 3 DDDROP FDM 3D printers at Van Raam

FDM 3D printers

Since the beginning, FDM 3D printers have been used from the DDDROP brand. FDM stands for: Fused Deposition Modelling. This is a technique with which prototypes can be made fast.
 
The FDM printing technique is one of the most frequently used 3D printing techniques worldwide. This is because many different materials can be used in this technique and the costs to start with it are low. Therefore, there are many different types of FDM printers available.
 
At Van Raam this printing technique is mainly used for printing production parts in low quantities. Think for example of chain guard parts, cover rings and cover caps, but also moulds and tools for the assembly and production department at Van Raam.

Benefits FDM printer at Van Raam

  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other 3D printing techniques

  • Short start-up times, so the printer can be used quickly

  • The ability to go from a file in a design program (such as SolidWorks) to a real product in a short period of time

  • Suitable printing technique for rapid prototyping

FDM 3D Print technique explanation Van Raam

The material around the spool is directed to the preheated nozzle so that the printer can 3D print the part.

FDM 3D Printer DDDROP printing

De DDDROP 3D printer is printing using FDM technology.

3D printer Van Raam DDDROP FDM

The printer starts working as soon as the protective cover is closed.

Material FDM 3D print technique Van Raam

The material for the FDM printers is wrapped around a spool. (Source: DDDROP)

How the FDM printer works

A (often plastic) material is fused together layer after layer. This material is wrapped like a wire on a spool and is led to the print head with the help of motors in the printer. The print head heats up the material, making it liquid and mouldable.
 
A part to be printed is divided into layers using software. The part is then built up in layers by the printer. During printing, the printer places all lines of molten material on a special developed surface, so that a layer is built up. The surface is the area on which the product is printed. The material in this layer solidifies, after which the printer can lay a new layer on top of it. The thickness of the layers can vary from 0.1mm to 1mm, depending on the settings. With this technique, the shape for a product can be built up layer after layer.
 
The materials that can be used with FDM printers are very different. For example, it is possible to use different types of hard plastics such as: PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon or PC. But also rubber-like materials such as TPU and TPE and metals such as stainless steel, aluminium, brass and steel. Van Raam mainly uses ABS. This is a plastic material that is highly resistant to UV light (such as sunlight) and various weather conditions. Because of this, the parts made of this material will last a long time on the bikes.

Van Raam bike factory robot welding with welding arm

Innovation at Van Raam

As indicated in the introduction of this article, Van Raam is continuously looking for innovative techniques to improve its products and processes. For example, in addition to the 3D printing technique, Van Raam uses a 3D Scanner and you can also find 3D/360 degree photos on our website. Also Van Raam uses a modern warehouse system, powder coating for colouring a bicycle and has its own test bench.
 
Read all about the innovation at Van Raam on the innovation page on the website.

Innovation at Van Raam