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Case Study

Bimotal Utilizes 3D Printing for Their E-Bike Conversion Project

September 18, 2023
Bitmotal Stratasys Housing on Bike in Action

Revolutionizing E-Bikes

A Stratasys Direct Case Study on 3D Printed Motorized Housing Units In the world of electric bikes, innovation, and performance are vital. Bimotal, a San Francisco based startup, sought to create a compact, robust enclosure to encase a high-performance motor to electrify regular bikes. Stratasys Direct, a leader in advanced additive manufacturing solutions, stepped in and delivered a custom solution using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

Toby Ricco Founder & CEO Bimotal

Partnering with Stratasys Direct paid off tremendously for our motorized e-bike project. Their deep understanding of our unique requirements, combined with their commitment to meeting our timelines, was impressive.

Innovative Idea

Bimotal was founded by Toby Ricco, an avid mountain biker with a background in engineering. After suffering a knee injury from a ski accident, Toby required an e-bike to support his biking pursuits. However, existing e-bikes on the market were heavy and expensive, prompting Toby to consider retrofitting a regular mountain bike with a motor. This vision sparked the idea for a compact, lightweight, and robust drive unit that could seamlessly integrate with a traditional bicycle frame.

Toby was introduced to Stratasys Direct and its exceptional contract manufacturing capabilities through a fellow biking enthusiast.

Bimotal Stratasys Direct Printed Housing

Collaboration with Stratasys Direct

Stratasys Direct’s team of experts collaborated closely with Toby and Bimotal to understand the specific requirements for the drive unit enclosure. Bimotal needed a compact, robust housing to encase a high-performance motor that would affix to a bike and motorize it. The drive unit enclosure needed to be durable, impact-resistant, and watertight - capable of maintaining consistent dimensions and stable temperatures even in challenging environments.

3D printed Bimotal part on bike

Choosing the Right Technology & Material

To ensure the housing enclosures met Bimotal’s requirements, Stratasys Direct prototyped the components using different materials, printing processes, and post-processing techniques. Stratasys Direct recommended using Powder Bed Fusion (PBF), and after careful evaluation, employed Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), an additive manufacturing technology that utilizes a laser to fuse powdered materials layer by layer. 

Because temperature resistance and strength were critical factors, Bimotal and Stratasys Direct determined that a glass-filled Nylon 12 (Nylon12GF) was the optimal choice. Kevin Sheehy, a Manufacturing Engineer at Stratasys Direct, explained, “Nylon 12GF was selected for its exceptional strength, durability, and mechanical properties. This rugged material can withstand the demands of any trail rider while providing structural integrity to the housing unit, all while maintaining a sleek profile.” Once the material and process were decided, some minor design for additive manufacturing changes were done to increase the stiffness and manufacturability of the components before printing the parts.

 

Bimotal bike attachment

The Solution

Stratasys Direct’s utilization of Nylon 12GF and Selective Laser Sintering resulted in the successful delivery of 50 robust, visually pleasing housing units for Bimotal’s e-bike conversion project. The application of post-processing techniques and vapor smoothing using DyeMansion equipment fortified the parts while elevating their aesthetic quality. This collaborative effort highlighted the versatility and efficiency of additive manufacturing in creating custom solutions that meet the unique requirements of innovative startups like Bimotal. Stratasys Direct’s expertise, commitment to quality, and ability to meet aggressive timelines were instrumental in driving the project forward, leaving a significant impact.

If you would like to check out this revolutionary product, visit Bimotal.com to Electrify Your Bike

You can also get an instant quote for your project by uploading your files at Quotes.StratasysDirect.com

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