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FORMAKERS will take advantage of the "digital fabrication REvolution". We publish projects of urban design/ architectural research/ fashion design/ 3d print/ parametric design / architecture model /photography and much more.FORMAKERS invites architects, designers, artists, students, scientists and individuals of all backgrounds to explore, research and investigate new design paradigms and urban visions.

12AUG 2014

Redesigning the Bike Frame / James Novak’s Experiment with 3D Printing

Posted in Design - Transport by * FORMAKERS

It’s a bike frame like no other: mesh texture, custom-fit, the designer’s name incorporated into the structure, and 3D Printed! The man that brought this stunning product into world is Australia-based industrial designer, university lecturer, student, researcher, and 3D Printing enthusiast James Novak. Here’s the story of his journey (on a bike!) through the world of 3D Printing.

© James Novak’s
Love at first print “I’m yet to come up with an answer to that age-old question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I don’t know if I even want to grow up!” Creative folks like you may be feeling the same as James. After completing degrees in Architecture and Product Design, James started his career as a professional industrial designer. However, even after a number of high-profile projects, “I was always searching for something more, something that I could really sink my teeth into and get excited about,” he said.The moment of finding his “something more” came rather unexpectedly.

© James Novak’s
When James paid a visit to Griffith University as an alumnus and lecturer, he stumbled upon and fell in love with 3D Printing. “What really blew my mind was seeing a lab full of 3D Printers in all shapes and sizes,” he said. “So alongside my teaching, I’ve taken up an Honors program to allow me to play with all these toys, and am working towards starting a PhD next year focused on Additive Manufacturing for sporting products.” What we should be 3D Printing This 3D Printed bike frame was an experiment for James to determine the extent to which he could exploit the uniqueness of 3D Printing.

© James Novak’s
“What I really wanted to achieve was something that takes full advantage of the benefits of 3D printers, especially the ability to create one-off, customizable pieces that may be lighter-weight and stronger than traditional frames through the use of complex lattice structures. More than anything, I’d like my work to be an example of what we should be 3D Printing.” - James Novak The bike frame is indeed a great example of a customized sport item – it is even designed to fit James’ body proportions. But what does it takes to 3D Print a large and complex object like this? Although he spent about 150 hours modeling the item in 3D on SolidWorks over a couple of weeks, he says modeling wasn’t the most difficult part of his 4-month project.

© James Novak’s
According to James, what has taken the most time and energy was actually discovering what’s possible with 3D Printing, understanding the limitations of this new manufacturing tool, and reimagining the concept of the bike frame. The future: where does this bike take him? After the bike frame was 3D Printed in paintable resin through i.materialise, the item was exhibited at a seminar in Brisbane, Australia this past July. But James’ bike journey doesn’t end with just one exhibition.

© James Novak’s
A customized bike frame like this might be available to you too in the future. “A lot of great ideas for the future have come from my experimentation so far, and I’m planning to launch a website selling some of these once I get through my studies. The site will be called edditive.com and will hopefully feature the final resolved fixie frame for sale in the future.

© James Novak’s
” – James Novak What would you reimagine with 3D Printing? If your experiment in redesign turns out great, share the result using the #imaterialise hashtag! You might be the next designer to be featured on this blog!.

Design team:
James Novak’s


Website (references):

© James Novak’s © James Novak’s © James Novak’s © James Novak’s © James Novak’s © James Novak’s


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