Trek’s prototyping lab was among the first to adopt the Objet500 Connex3,
an advanced color multi-material 3D printer that runs on PolyJet technology.
It creates prototypes that look and feel like production parts, with more
material options and more uptime than ever before. The system builds color
parts with clear, tinted and flexible components all in one job, for example.
Specifically, engineers at Trek embraced the capability to integrate soft
rubber-like components into models built from their favorite prototyping
material, durable Digital ABS.
This is crucial because so many bike
parts and accessories contain rigid and soft components. Before Connex3,
the lab would have had to build those devices in separate jobs, swapping
out 3D printing materials in between, and then bond the components. Or,
to print in one job, downgrade the rigid portions to a less durable, non composite material.
According to engineering tech Guadalupe Ollarzabal, when a prototype
leaves the lab, the designers or customers who handle it don’t necessarily
remember it’s 3D printed and that, depending on the material, might be
fragile. That’s why the shop uses Digital ABS as much as possible.