Self-lubricating igus 3D printing sprocket for electric bike silent ride


In recent years, bicycles have evolved from simple means of transportation to representatives of healthy travel modes. Among them, the importance of lightweight electric bicycles has made a significant contribution to this trend. Customers need a quiet ride. Therefore, the drive unit and related components must be optimized. With 3D printing, igus provides an ideal solution for custom drive components. For example, sprocket wheels printed from high-performance plastics are not only self-lubricating, maintenance-free, but also reduce noise.

Order wear parts such as sprocket online: visit the igus website, view 3D printing services, upload CAD files, select materials and quantities, and receive customized lubrication-free 3D printing parts within 3-5 days

In recent years, the sales growth rate of electric bicycles has been very high. In 2016, only 605,000 electric bicycles were sold in Germany, an increase of 13% year-on-year. Manufacturers can only stabilize the market if they continue to improve the quality of the drive components. Therefore, the 2018 model of the electric bicycle motor is 25% smaller than the previous motor, weighs about 3 kg, and the noise during riding is much smaller. However, Lars Hartmann, an electric bicycle repairman from Reichshof, Germany, is not satisfied with this. For him, the excessive noise of the bicycle chain is unacceptable. The metal sprocket acts as a guide roller on the chain to ensure that the chain and the frame do not collide, but it will generate a lot of noise during riding.
Silent sprocket made of high performance plastic
To solve the sprocket noise problem, Lars Hartmann decided to use igus' 3D printing service. He sent the sprocket CAD data to igus and received the customized product within a few days. “Standard metal pinions generate a lot of noise when used. So I drew the gears down and asked igus to print them out with iglidur I3 material,” explains Lars Hartmann, the inventor of the ideal cycling solution. “The production of 3D printed parts is simple and fast. Just save the relevant data of the part as a STEP file and upload it, then select the required material and order quantity.” The sprocket made of engineering plastic is already on 2 bicycles. After using it for 2 months, the noise dropped dramatically, and Hartmann was very happy about it.
Optimum wear resistance and strength
The material of the 3D printing sprocket is iglidur I3, which is also suitable for industrial small batch production. This material has excellent wear resistance and high strength and can be processed by selective laser sintering (SLS). Moreover, the finished parts can be used directly. Igus's testing laboratory compared bearings made of iglidur I3 material to bearings made of plain 3D printed plastic material (by laser sintering). Parts made of iglidur I3 material are at least three times more wear resistant than general-purpose printing materials, whether in rotation, swing or linear motion.
About igus:
Igus GmbH is a leading international manufacturer of towline systems and engineering plastic plain bearings. Headquartered in Cologne, the family company has operations in 35 countries and regions and employs approximately 3,800 people worldwide. In 2017, igus' sales of sports plastics for sports applications reached 690 million euros. Igus operates the industry's largest testing labs and engineering, delivering innovative products and solutions based on customer needs and delivering them quickly.

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