Today your workshop, tomorrow the world: Is the future 3D printed?

From simple home-made gadgets to budget-busting titanium, we delve into the world of 3D printing in cycling

3D printed cycle components
(Image credit: Future)

Every few months, news breaks of another high-profile rider throwing their leg over a 3D-printed bike. Alex Dowsett, Filippo Ganna, world scratch race champion Will Tidball. The list isn't exactly endless, but each one makes headlines and increases the sense of mystery. A shroud seems to cover 3D printing, and as manufacturers disclose scant details, excitement builds around a dark and exciting art coming soon to a garage or shed near you.

In truth, it's not dark, but it can certainly be exciting, and the possibilities it offers all of us are closer at hand than you might imagine. If your instinctive reaction when you first found out that someone printed a bike was along the lines of "How the–?", then you've come to the right place. 

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.