Nowadays, companies rely on premium quality components to fabricate end products that meet consumer product design. Aside from this, the complexity associated with machining parts with close tolerance, accuracy, and repeatability requires advanced technologies to fabricate precisely crafted components.
Hence, the emergence of ground-breaking custom CNC machining has provided long-lasting solutions that cut across many industries, and bicycle-making industries are no exception. Read on as we examine the application of CNC machines in bicycle part manufacturing. We will also walk you through the benefits of CNC machining for custom bike parts and the top custom bicycle parts and accessories.
Material Used for Custom Bicycle Parts
The application of CNC machining for custom bicycle parts spans several materials. Choosing the most suitable material to customize your classic bike part is the first step before manufacturing begins, but it can be tricky.
For instance, machinists can construct two bicycle frames from the same material yet have entirely different ride qualities. Regardless, current road bikes get fabricated from a blend of four primary materials: aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and titanium. Let’s take a closer look at these materials.
Due to their distinct characteristics, aluminum and its alloys get widely applied in bicycle parts manufacturing. They are lightweight, abundant, particularly type 6061 and 7005, corrosion resistant, exceptional shock absorbers, and easily deformable into various shapes. For these reasons, manufacturers use aluminum materials to fabricate racing bicycle frames and tubes.
Steel grades are excellent materials for bicycle frames. They are widely available and easily bend into various shapes; thus, many steel bicycle parts conform to different assembly methods. More so, steel bicycle frames usually integrate great designs to suit cyclists’ needs. Note that they are heavier and less corrosion resistant, unlike aluminum materials. American SAE 4130 steel, also called chrome-moly, is a popular quality steel grade most manufacturers apply for bicycle parts.
Titanium is well-known for its high strength and long-lasting properties. Some manufacturers and cyclists even opine that it combines the best features of other materials. Titanium begs comparison to aluminum in weight, and it has a unique feel and handling that appeals to most cyclists. Engineers often use titanium to fabricate custom bicycle pedals and frames. Even so, it is expensive to use as it requires special welding tools and joining in a controlled environment.
4. Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber, also called graphite, is one of the newest materials applied for custom bike parts, and it is not a metal, unlike the other materials. It is a fabric infused with resin glue that allows shaping and linking. Expert machinists increasingly use carbon fiber to produce custom bicycle parts due to its good shock absorbing properties and fine-tuning to meet desired qualities. But then, carbon fiber is more costly and somewhat complicated to machine.
Application of CNC Technology in Manufacturing Custom Bicycle Parts
CNC milling and turning are the most common CNC machining techniques for manufacturing custom motorcycle parts. Let’s briefly delve into these standard machining processes.
1. CNC Milling
CNC milling operations involve automated machining processes that control rotary cutting tool tools and feed rate. During milling, the cutting tool rotates across the surface of the workpiece and continues to subtract excess material until the shape and size of desired parts get formed. Experts often apply CNC milling to 6061 aluminum alloys to fabricate custom bicycle parts, especially for the extrusion tubes for bicycle frames.
2. CNC Turning
CNC turning also uses subtractive methods to produce custom parts. In this machining process, the bars of the workpiece gets affixed in a position while the multi-bladed cutting tool removes excess material to fabricate specific custom bike components. Many manufacturers apply CNC turning operations to aluminum, titanium, and steel materials to produce various custom bicycle parts. They include sprocket, chain tensioner, rear hub guard, seat clamp, etc.
Benefits of CNC Machining for Custom Bike Parts
CNC machining has helped ease up and enhance many manufacturing operations beyond expectation. Moreover, many machinists use CNC robotic machining to meet specific unconventional requirements during manufacturing. These revolutionary technologies apply in various industries today.
Below are some benefits of CNC machining for custom bicycle parts manufacturing.
1. High Level of Precision and Accuracy
CNC machines work with pre-programmed software technology to fabricate custom bicycle parts with high precision and stellar accuracy. You can create the same piece multiple times or use different instructions to manufacture new custom bicycle parts while the machine maintains consistency at all levels. Above all, these machines help evade the possibilities of human errors.
2. Ease of Fabrication
Without a doubt, CNC machines make custom bicycle parts manufacturing more straightforward and effortless. These innovative machines help rapidly design and fabricate intricate bicycle parts from materials with complex geometrical shapes. Additionally, CNC machines have wide-ranging compatibility with diverse raw materials to produce bike parts that continue to appeal to cyclists.
CNC machining processes allow bike manufacturers to customize your bike to fit even the wildest specs. Your bike part can be tailored from the sprocket wheel to the frame and chain. Besides, a custom bike makes you stand out from other cyclists, more like a one-of-a-kind ride!
Custom CNC machines can operate rapidly to produce large batches in a short period while delivering the exact size and shape of the custom bicycle parts. This is all thanks to their automated feature. Likewise, they also cut down material waste and potential liabilities from using human labor.
Tips for Machining Bicycle Parts
Even though CNC machines are efficient and versatile in several manufacturing procedures, there are specific limitations associated with their use. Taking note of these limitations before manufacturing will help you fabricate improved custom bicycle parts. Below are some essential tips to optimize the machining of bicycle parts:
1. Increase the Thickness of Thin Walls
In most cases, thin-walled custom parts are highly complex to fabricate. This is because CNC machines work with powerful vibration, and thin wall machining needs multiple passes at low cutting depths, creating the high tendency of getting these delicate parts distorted or chattered during CNC machining. Besides, faulty components can incur additional production costs. Hence, it is best to design custom bike parts with a minimum wall thickness of 0.8mm for metal components and 1.5mm for plastic components.
2. Avoid Deep Cavities
The depth and diameter of CNC cutting tool cavities remain pivotal factors to consider before manufacturing. End mill cutting tools have limited cutting lengths that work best at 2 to 3 times the diameter of the instrument. To save cost and get better bicycle parts, we suggest you limit the depth of the cavity to 4 times the diameter of the cutting tool. You can opt for more significant depths but note that multi-axis CNC systems are more expensive.
3. Split Up Complex Parts
Machining complex bicycle parts, especially those with deep pockets, is more costly than machining simpler parts. It would require more time to get the precise dimensions of the intricate components, and the need for more extensive materials increases production costs. Thus, to avoid impediments during bicycle parts manufacturing, you should split the complex bike parts design into clear-cut or simpler parts and then combine them to make the desired custom bicycle part.
Top Custom Bicycle Parts and Accessories
Various components make up a bicycle. We highlighted the top custom bicycle parts and accessories below:
- Chain Wheels and Chain Guards
- Handle Bars
- Gears and Hubs
- Seat Post and Clamps
- Bolts and Brackets
- Brake Pads
- Machined Pedals
- Frame and Drivetrain Components
- Cable Guides
- Racks, bag frame, cranks, etc.
Get Your Precise Custom Bicycle Parts at WayKen in Days
CNC machining has become a staple in fabricating custom bicycle parts today. Even so, manufacturers must select the material grade suitable for each bicycle part before manufacturing. This is because several factors such as cost and the properties of the material grade inform their respective use for different bike parts. After considering the necessary elements, fabricating specific bike parts requires quality machining services.
At WayKen, we boast professional machinists ready to handle all your bicycle part machining projects. We offer precision CNC milling, turning, and 3-, 4-, and 5-axis CNC machining services to meet your specific bicycle parts designs and production needs. Get a quote today for one-on-one support service, and get your custom bicycle parts in days.