Thok creates prototype using 3D printed aluminium in industry first

Thok has created its latest full suspension prototype using a metal 3D printer, or selective laser melting (SLM), in what is believed to be an industry first.

To follow the brand’s ‘performance first’ mantra, Thok is committed to testing the geometry and components of its projects on the trails.

To enable this, it has looked to a company in the aerospace industry to make its latest aluminium prototype.

Metal 3D printing is ideal for creating fully functional prototypes and components for final use that may be impossible to build with conventional methods, as it cuts down on costs and time.

This technology combines the design flexibility of 3D printing and the mechanical properties of high-performing metal alloys to create unique, resistant and light components for the most complex applications.

Aluminium has been due to its strength, thermal properties, reduced weight and flexible post-processing abilities, making it ideal for prototyping and production in the automotive and aerospace industries.

An e-bike is anything but a simple product and utilising 3D printing for a prototype adds another layer of complexities.

This challenge led to new hurdles for Thok and its supplier partner to overcome concerning the use of this technology.

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Throughout the process, the two companies analysed the interaction of multiple printed parts with one another and their processing concerning the position of the moving parts, interfacing with the components and more.

This process required about four weeks of work, without counting the design phase, and included a leap from the first Rapid Prototyped plastic model, which had a merely aesthetic purpose, to a fully functioning model that was tested on the ground, without prototype moulds and/or numerous CNC machined pieces being necessary.

The prototype was shown to select journalists at the brand’s Thok Tribe event which took place at Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italy, earlier this month which saw more than 400 “Thokers” in attendance.

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