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Spiderweb-style bicycle made from carbon fibre strands

17 August 2016

The IsoGridBike features a frame like a spiderweb made with technology from the aerospace industry, it is lightweight and completely adjusted to the rider.

Image courtesy of Paul Martin

Paul Martin loves Spiderman and he loves bikes. His product design studio works on consumer products of various kinds and so the question arose whether you can create a bike in the same way a spider builds her web. The forces should be transmitted over long carbon strands and therefore 3D printing, welding or bonding was ruled out. The engineer Dr. Ralph Funck with his company CirComp can do such things. Both met through the plastic network Rhineland-Palatinate and the idea of the project was born.

"NASA is using grid structures made of carbon in space, why not build bikes from this?" says Dr Ralph Funck and he ought to know. For many years he provided carbon fibre products for the aircraft industry. From the start the project did not have the intension to make compromises. Standard connection parts omitted. The seat structure can be upholstered with fabric "overcoats" and the seat height is tailored to the driver. "Clearly, a diamond frame would have been the simplest solution, but we wanted to show the opportunities of this method." says Paul Martin. The frame is made from just five carbon fibres, which do the job. The patented "Isogridbike" is also available as a technology platform for other applications in robotics, medical technology and mechanical engineering.

Image courtesy of Paul Martin

For the seating area there is an ‘overcoat’ with different upholstery which is clipped into the grid or fixed with Velcro. 

In comparison to a printed structure, the difference lies in the construction of the individual strands. The forces are similarly intercepted and spread like a rope or steel beams meaning there are no breaks. This is precisely the strength of the long carbon fibres. Printed structures are made up of millions of particles glued together, by nature they can never match in terms of strength and carrying of loads.  

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