Sales of electric bikes have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2017, sales rose by 25% in the United States and 34 million were sold worldwide. Today’s bikes are much lighter than previous models. Motors for e-bikes are about 25% smaller than their predecessors, with a weight of slightly less than 7 lb. The e-bikes are also quieter.
Part of the solution to noise reduction involved the bike’s metal sprocket. Lars Hartmann, an e-bike inventor, wanted to reduce noise, so he began focusing on new designs for the sprocket. The sprocket guides the chain so that it does not collide with the frame.
3D printing produces custom solution
Hartmann turned to igus’ 3D printing service.
“The standard metal pinion generates a lot of noise when in use,’’ Hartmann said. “I drew it and had it printed by igus from iglide l3. Getting the part from igus was easy and fast. With the 3D printing service, the appropriate data could be uploaded as a STEP file, the material selected and the desired quantity ordered.”
Hartmann has used the sprockets for about two months, and he has noticed a dramatic reduction in noise in the e-bike.
Material suitable for industry or small batches
iglide l3 is a material suitable for industrial and small batch use. The material has good coefficients of wear and high strength and is processed by selective laser sintering (SLS).
In the test laboratory at igus, plain bearings made from the material have been compared with common materials for selective laser sintering. In pivoting, rotating, and linear motion, the parts proved to be at least three times more abrasion resistant than standard materials.