Jim Miller has started this initiative after a long career with helping Alphabet’s Google build out data centers and speeding packages for Amazon Inc. to customers. The Silicon Valley’s startup Arevo Inc backed by a venture capital, Miller has produced a carbon fiber bicycle with 3D printed frame.
Arevo is using the bike to demonstrate its software design and its printing technology, the company hopes to produce the parts for bicycles, aircraft, space vehicles and other applications. The designers value the strength and lightness of carbon fiber parts but there are high costs and labor-intensive process is associated with it, the real problem with current production mechanisms.
Arevo on Thursday has raised $12.5 million in venture funding from Japan’s Asahi Glass Co Ltd and Leslie Ventures. The company has raised previously $7 million from Khosla Ventures and an unveiled amount from In-Q-Tel a venture capital backed by the CIA.
The Real Difference
The traditional carbon fiber products are expensive because of the process involved in building and finalizing the product. In making Traditional carbon fiber bikes workers lay individual layers of carbon fiber, they impregnate it with resin and mold the frame by hand. The frame then gets baked in an oven to melt the resin and bind the carbon fiber sheets together.
The real differences come in Arevo’s technology, the company has changed the way carbon fiber parts used to be made. It uses a “deposition head” mounted on a robotic arm to print out the three-dimensional shape of the bicycle frame. The head lays down strands of carbon fiber and melts a thermoplastic material to bind the strands, all in one step.
The technology Arevo uses would let it build bicycle frames for $300 with no involvement of human labor in making frames. Miller said, we can now meet the cost of bicycle frame build in Asia where the labor costs are much lower, even we can reduce the costs further.
Miller said Arevo is in talks with several bike manufacturers, the company also hopes to supply aerospace parts in the future. Arevo says it doesn’t need to build large ovens to bake larger parts, We can print large parts such as Aircraft’s fuselage or wing of the aircraft—he added.