Will there ever be a day when you can just print a mountain bike from comfort of your living room? Well, if people like Adrian Smith have anything to say about it, that might just be the case.
Adrian Smith is the man behind Wasp Carbon bikes, a company he runs by producing carbon fibre bikes from his garage in Yorkshire.
He says: “It’s incredibly rewarding, it’s nice to conceive a product and then carry it through not just the design, where you realise it on paper or a computer screen, but then to take that to the next step and have a finished part in your hands and to even ride it.”
Smith designs the moulds on his computer and then exports them to the 3-D printer. The carbon fibre is then laid into the mould and cured in an oven. All that’s required after that is the part to be cleaned, smoothed off and polished up ready for the final frame.
Smith’s current favourite bike is his 29er hardtail but he does also make full suspension bikes. He says: “It’s a real novelty, it’s like getting a new toy. Everybody probably gets that when they pick up [a bike] from a shop but if you’ve done it yourself and you know what problems you’ve come across and you know how you’ve overcome them I think that reward is a hundred times more powerful and it’s a fantastic feeling.”