An Interview with Briztreadley

150708 FIX3D

My 3D printed bike, FIX3D, is now being discussed outside of the 3D printing world in an interview I’ve done for the Briztreadley podcast, a site dedicated to discussing all things cycling around South-East Queensland. If you want to jump straight to my interview and the discussion about 3D printing for cycling jump to the 29 minute mark.

As always it’s great to keep the discussion about 3D printing going, and exposing people to the exciting world that many of us early adopters now take for granted. I mention in the interview that the bike is permanently on show at Griffith University on the Gold Coast as part of the new Red Zone visitors centre – if you’re in the area, check it out and tag your photos with #FIX3D. Keep in mind some of the presenters have misquoted some of the details during their discussion; I do not think the bike frame will ever weigh only 200grams (although it’s a nice thought!), and the bike is not on show in Canada. Thanks to Chris Welsh for coming out to do the interview as part of your first podcast ๐Ÿ™‚

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printing Around Queensland

Another great chance to talk all things 3D printing today on ABC Radio Brisbane! It’s great that these sorts of programs are highlighting the opportunities 3D printing offers in my local Queensland area. Not only did I get another chance to talk about my work and of course my 3D printed bike FIX3D, but you will also hear from Alex Kingsbury from the CSIRO, Associate Professor Travis Klein from the Queensland University of Technology, Daniel Flood from The Edge (part of the State Library of Queensland), and another graduate like myself from Griffith University – Sarah Deasy who runs an online business selling 3D printed items called Ask for Oompa. Quite an interesting mix of opinions and experiences around Brisbane.

This is quite a light-hearted conversation, great for those without too much experience with 3d printing that would like to know more about what’s happening and how to get involved. Of course you can always leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy.

– Posted by James Novak

A Rapid Roundup of RAPID

2015-05-20 RAPID

As mentioned in my last post, I recently returned from the RAPID 3D Printing Conference in Los Angeles and was completely blown away by the amazing talks and exhibitions over 4 days. A must-see event for anyone serious about the world of 3D printing and also 3D scanning. The photo above shows the huge exhibition floor that I easily spent a few hours exploring every day just to soak it all up. Here I’d just like to share a small selection of the things that really amazed and inspired me.

150526 RAPID Keynotes

Two of the keynotes were of course extremely interesting, day 1 featuring Jason Dunn from the well known Made in Space program. Yes, the guys responsible for sending and operating the first 3D printer on the International Space Station! As a bit of a space nerd, who spent my first day before the conference visiting the retired Endeavour Space Shuttle, this talk was extremely inspiring. Just hearing about the extreme lengths they went through to design and test their printer, and receive approvals from an extremely conservative NASA, was a real insight into the challenges we face when we think about missions to Mars and beyond. For example did you know that it currently costs $10,000 to send just 1kg of material into space? Or that an astronauts time on board the International Space Station costs $40,000 per hour! So asking an astronaut to remove a simple 3D print can turn into a very costly process!

As always Terry Wohlers provided an insight into the current state of the 3D printing industry, and a vision for what to expect over the coming years. Beyond the stats that formulate part of the annual Wohlers Report, something that really stood out to me was that Airbus currently employ 35 people full-time dedicated to additive manufacturing. In just 3 years time (2018) they will be producing 30 tonnes of parts manufactured using 3D printing technology. 30 tonnes!!! That’s a lot of metal and plastic printers, and a lot of raw material being bought up by just one company. For those people still thinking 3D printing is only a prototyping technology, it’s time to wake up!

2015-05-20 StratasysWith 3 days of presentations, there was of course something for everyone during the event. I took this photo during a presentation from 2 guys at Stratasys who have completely 3D printed functional skis and a snowboard. They have used a variety of internal cell structures to increase strength, as well as using a material called ULTEM 9085 which runs through the Fortus machines and provides extremely high strength and stiffness. Definitely a material I’d like to get my hands on, and hopefully possible to run through our Fortus 250mc at Griffith University.

By far the most crowded room I squeezed into was a presentation by Greg Mark, the CEO of MarkForged. If you haven’t heard of this company, look them up – their Mark One printer can print with continuous strands of carbon fiber and kevlar, all for under $5000. Judging by the crowd, and having the chance to spend 5 minutes talking with Greg on the exhibition floor, I think it’s pretty clear that everyone is excited by this company. The parts I played with, including a surfboard fin and motorcycle brake lever, were incredibly strong, and only featured a handful of layers of carbon fiber within the 3D printed parts. The Mark One is certainly on top of my wishlist, especially with my previous attempts of 3D printing fins for my kiteboard.

2015-05-21 RAPID

Despite all of this, by far the best part of RAPID was the show floor. Not only was there a diverse range of companies, from the big players like 3D Systems and Materialise down to newer start-ups, but every booth had a diverse range of 3D printed products, the sorts of products I’ve only seen written about online. This included the first functional 3D printed motorcycle, the New Balance custom track shoes, numerous 3D printed medical devices and prosthetics, piles of crazy lattice structures in metals and plastics, fashion, furniture… The list is endless! Hence why my brain hurt by the end of each day! But what was great was the ability to get up close to these products, touch them, question them, and discuss them with people that were involved in creating them.

2015-05-19 Nervous

A personal highlight was of course seeing some pieces by Jessica Rosenkrantz (aka Nervous System) who I have been following for some time. You might recall a recent print of a bracelet I did from a downloaded Thingiverse file from Nervous System that turned out really well. The complexities of their designs, created using algorithms and coding, are really cutting edge and helped inspire my FIX3D bicycle frame and my new line of PhD research that delves into some similar generative tools.

In terms of some new products that interested me, there was a really interesting PLA material from a company called 3D Fuel in partnership with Algix, which is infused with Algae. This means the material is very quick to break down and compost at the end of its’ life, much faster than traditional PLA. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a sample, but it’s one to keep an eye on as they plan to bring a range of different colours to market soon. Lulzbot also had an impressive display of their 3D printers, with the large TAZ model (print area of 298mm x 275mm x 250mm) priced at $2200. The printer and software is all open source, and they had some great examples of products printed in NinjaFlex, and also a brand new material called n-Vent by Taulman 3D.

This is just a very brief summary of a few of the highlights from RAPID 2015, an event that I hope to attend again next year. I can’t recommend it enough. Hopefully some of these links and companies to watch are useful to those that couldn’t make it. If you’re in Europe, an announcement was made at the conference that SME would be partnering with EUROMOLD later this year to really bring the excitement of RAPID to Europe, so keep an eye out for that.

– Posted by James Novak

My 3D Printed Life

A lot of people look at me with a mixture of excitement and confusion when I tell them what I do for work, probably because it sounds a bit futuristic and weird. And it is! But hopefully this profile video prepared by Griffith University and the Gold Coast City Council will explain things a little better than I can, featuring my FIX3D Bike 3D printed by Materialise. I always get a kick from sharing my knowledge of 3D printing with kids still in school since it is really going to affect their lives in the most exciting ways; hopefully videos like this can inspire them to take up the careers of the future.

Also a huge thank you to everyone at the recent RAPID 3D Printing Conference in Los Angeles hosted by SME for awarding my paper the Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award, I am still extremely surprised that out of all the amazing work mine had such an effect! My brain still hurts from soaking up so much information but I will post some photos and some of the exciting things I saw in the next few days, and strongly recommend anyone with a serious interest in 3D printing and 3D scanning attend this event if you get the chance.

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printing a Section of FIX3D

2015-05-05 FIX3D SectionAfter my previous post 3D printing a bracelet from Nervous System, these prints of a section of my 3D printed bike ‘FIX3D‘ follow on nicely; they also require (almost) no support material, and I’ve used the same 2-colour effect using some fluro green filament. With a few talks coming up where I’m unable to physically take the completed bike (since it’s on show in Belgium for Materialise) these will help give people an understanding of what it looks like in 3D, and also allow them to touch it and feel the lattice structure.

2015-05-05 FIX3D SectionsA few little errors and that pesky ‘slipping’ effect showing up with my Up! Plus 2 printer, but nothing major worth stopping the printing process for. One of the sections had enough of a slip (about 5mm) near the end that I had to slice the section away after printing and glue it back in its proper position. You wouldn’t even notice unless looking very carefully though. If you’re attending RAPID in a couple of weeks I’ll see you there with these and some other bits and pieces!

– Posted by James Novak

FIX3D on show in Brussels

Making a Difference Main PageContinuing an amazing year, my 3D printed bike ‘FIX3D’ is currently on show at the Materialise exhibition called Making A Difference / A Difference in Making at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, in Brussels. It’s amazing to be featured alongside designers like Iris van Herpen and Patrick Jouin, and see social media go crazy! Within 7 hours the photo of the bike, featured by Designboom on Facebook, has received nearly 6,000 likes and over 1,000 shares! The full Designboom article about the exhibition can be found here.

If you’re in Brussels the exhibition is open until June 7th, so please pop in and let me know how it looks. I’ve only seen a few photos so far, but it looks like a great 3D printing exhibition. Thanks Materialise!

If you’re interested in seeing the latest version of the bike, now using SLS Polyamide, check out my last post here.

– Posted by James Novak

The 3D Printed Bike is Back!

150427 3D BikeLast year was an exciting giant leap into the world of 3D printing when I worked on a 3D printed bike frame for my university Honours project. Materialise were the first to publish my story, and since then it’s been quite hectic (in a good way of course!). Now it’s a new year, I’ve moved into a PhD, and my research has taken new direction; however the interest in this bike seems to be still quite high, and I have just completed a new version of the bike to be permanently exhibited at the Griffith University visitors centre.

Unlike the original frame, which was printed in a single piece by Materialise using SLA technology, this one has been printed in polyamide using SLS from Shapeways (simply due to cost). The SLA frame was a delicate thing to manage, and really showed its limitations over the hot Australian summer when it literally melted whilst stored in my house! So with a new opportunity to print something a little more durable (without costing a giant pile of cash) SLS is the next best option. The limitation with SLS however is the smaller print volume, requiring the frame to be cut into 3 segments and glued together after printing. It certainly feels a bit more durable, although before anyone asks, no this still can’t be ridden! With SLS printing still limited by size, it will be some years before titanium or composite fiber material printers are able to print this in 1 piece… But it will be exciting when it happens ๐Ÿ™‚

– Posted by James Novak

Solidoodle Fix Number 1

2015-02-10 Solidoodle FixOne of the first problems all Solidoodle Press owners find is the ‘umbilical cord’ to the extruder getting caught behind the arm at the back of the printer (photo and discussion in one of my first posts about the printer). It does not sound good and will have you jumping for the power switch! Well thanks to the ever useful SoliForum and a video from Ray Steele, I think I have now (temporarily?) solved this problem.

A simple rubber band can be used to keep tension on the cord and prevent it from being able to fit between the extruder arm and back of the printer. Luckily the small pins used as hinges for the lid of the printer can slide to the side (indicated by the red arrow), allowing you to fit the rubber band in and the lock it in place by sliding the pin back. Tweezers or something similar are enough, and you just need to use a rubber band (or link a few smaller bands together) to get the tension right.

One small fix for man, 999 fixes left for mankind.

– Posted by James Novak

Top 10 of 3D Printing for 2014

2014-12-23 Top 102014 has been an amazing year for 3D printing with so many amazing developments, trials, improvements and success stories. To my great surprise the top 10 for 2014, published by Bruce Jackson at 3D Printing Systems, features my 3D Printed Fixie at number 6! Wow!! Thank you so much to everyone who has embraced my vision for the future of 3D printing. Click here to see the full list of top 3D printing projects.

Like 3D Printing, 2014 has been an exciting year for me delving into this world through university research, and I can only say I’m excited about 2015. If you’re as passionate about sharing knowledge about all things 3D printing, design and technology as I am, please subscribe to my blog and share your thoughts so we can all learn together.

– Posted by James Novak

My First e-Magazine

3D Printed BikeAnonymously sitting in a public lecture (wearable technology) only to hear the speaker start talking about a 3D printed bike… Mine! Turns out it’s been published yet again without my knowledge, but you won’t hear me complain! I won’t bore you with details, if it interests you just follow this link to the e-Magazine article. Click here.

This is the list of publications (that I know of) that have previously published stories on my 3D printed bike:


More Gold Coast (China) (France)


Bicycle Fetish