Register manager Peter Bickford says the 3D printed register is just one example of the growing interest in 3D printing in the world of transport.
“I think there’s a huge amount of interest in the possibilities of using 3D printers to produce something that’s a little bit more tangible, a little more tangible to the user, that they can actually interact with,” he says.
“So it’s not just a hobby project.
It’s something that people can do.”
The register for a bike will typically be printed with a 3D scanner, but Bickfield says he’s already used a prototype that was 3D scanned with a digital sketchbook.
He says the design allows for some degree of control over the printing process, and that the 3d scanner can then be controlled via a smartphone app.
The 3D-printed register also means that the register is much easier to read, since the printer is able to print it out in one go.
Bickford’s work with the register was funded by the Australian National University (ANU) in partnership with the University of Queensland, which will use the 3DS to make the register compatible with its digital bike registration app.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s something people are really keen on,” he said.
While there are a lot more ways that people could use 3D scanners to produce their own 3D objects, it may be that the most interesting applications for 3D technology lie in using it to create the ultimate 3D model of a building or object.
If 3D is just for the fancy gadget makers, then it could also be a game changer for the wider automotive industry.
But for now, Bickburn’s interest in this technology is focused on the design of a simple register that will allow people to check their bike register without needing to worry about the intricacies of 3D scanning.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to go out and buy a 3DS and say, ‘I’m going to build this register and print it from a 3ds, because I want to check it’,” he says, pointing out that the printhead already exists.
For now, the register can be printed from a single piece of aluminium or wood.
A printhead can also be used to print a variety of materials, including plastic, ceramic and even metal.
This would be a great solution for those who are not particularly concerned with safety, Bicks said.
“But we’re just looking at this as a hobby, not a job,” he told New Scientist.
You can read more about 3D manufacturing at New Scientist here.