Chain Reaction Cycles continue our partnership with the Tour of Britain in 2016, sponsoring the Points Jersey for the fifth year.
With Vitus as Official Bicycle of the Tour of Britain for the second year we decided to draw on the R&D team at Vitus to design and develop a series of trophies to be presented to the winners along with their jersey.
The brief was to create a unique trophy, with one for each stage winner and an overall trophy, that showcased the Vitus Vitesse Evo frame that the An Post Chain Reaction Cycles team are actually riding in the Tour of Britain.
To avoid the limitations and challenges associated with traditional manufacturing, and to meet the lead-time required for production, it was decided to use advanced additive manufacturing (3D printing) to produce the trophies.
This is done on a machine which literally ‘prints’ the part layer-by-layer in 3D, and is used by Vitus during development of their frames to prototype and compare designs before production.
Alan Boyd, Design Engineer for Vitus Bikes, created the concept and 3D modelled the parts of the trophy in Solidworks, before sending the files to be 3D printed.
The laser sintering machine works on plastic powder layer-by-layer – a laser draws thin lines in the powder, which melts and bonds it together in order to form a thin layer of the model. After a layer is printed, a new layer of fresh powder is spread over the surface by a roller.
The printer has a print chamber that is heated to just below the melting point of the powder; the laser beam adds the extra energy to melt the powder, forming a solid model. After a print job is finished, the result is a big block of heated powder with the printed models contained inside.
This technology allowed the trophy to be made with no limitations in shape or design imposed by traditional manufacturing.
Following 3D printing, the parts were finished and painted before being shipped across to the Tour of Britain for presentation on the podium!