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Design titanium 3-D printed dropouts for custom bike manufacturer


Redesigned the rear dropouts to combine nine bicycle parts into two parts to reduce manufacturing time and costs for a custom bicycle manufacturer.


Meeting with client

Determine project scope

Identify functional requirements

Meeting with manufacturer

Determine requirements for titanium 3D printing

Sketching and idea generation

CAD modeling


Plastic prototyping for fit, sizing, and interference checks

Production grade titanium 3D printed prototypes

Design Process


Design Parameters

The project began with client meetings to establish the project goals and design requirements. Sketches were made to prototype design options and clarify functional requirements. Next, CAD models and multiple iterations of plastic 3D printed prototypes were generated to check fit and clearances and improve the design. In addition, meetings were held with titanium 3D printing companies and metal 3D printing experts to determine requirements or restrictions for the design and evaluate the prototypes.

An initial set of dropouts were printed in titanium with various finishing treatments to be tested on a prototype assembly for fit, assembly, and strength. Following additional client meetings, the designs were refined, including significant weight reduction, to create the final dropouts.  


Final Design

The final dropout design combined the drive and drive side dropouts, brake caliper mounts, and derailleur hangers into two cohesive parts that blend smoothly with the frame tubes. The designs minimize assembly and manufacturing time, thereby reducing cost, and improve the aesthetics to create a seamless frame design. The final dropouts have been confirmed through another round of 3D printed titanium parts, tested on a prototype bicycle, and shortly will begin being used on all full bicycle assemblies.

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