Viability of Distributed Manufacturing of Bicycle Components with 3-D Printing: CEN Standardized Polylactic Acid Pedal Testing

Nagendra G. Tanikella, Benjamin Savonen, John Gershenson, Joshua M Pearce


Recent advancements in open-source self-replicating rapid prototypers (RepRap) have radically reduced costs of 3-D printing. The cost of additive manufacturing enables distributed manufacturing of open source appropriate technologies (OSAT) to assist in sustainable development. In order to investigate the potential this study makes a careful investigation of the use of RepRap 3-D printers to fabricate widely used Black Mamba bicycle components in the developing world. Specifically, this study tests pedals. A CAD model of the pedal was created using parametric open source software (FreeCAD) to enable future customization. Then poly-lactic acid, a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic was selected among the various commercial 3-D printable materials based on strength and cost. The pedal was 3-D printed on a commercial RepRap and tested following the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) standards for racing bicycles for 1) static strength, 2) impact, and 3) dynamic durability. The results show the pedals meet the CEN standards and can be used on bicycles. The 3-D printed pedals are significantly lighter than the stock pedals used on the Black Mamba, which provides a performance enhancement while reducing the cost if raw PLA or recycled materials are used, which assists in reducing bicycle costs even for those living in extreme poverty. Other bicycle parts could also be manufactured using 3-D printers for a return on investment on the 3-D printer indicating that this model of distributed manufacturing of OSAT may be technically and economically appropriate through much of the Global South.


3-D Printing; Bicycle; Distributed Manufacturing; Mechanical Properties; PLA; RepRap

References (2016). Welcome - Aleph Objects, Inc. 3D Printer. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Anzalone, G.C., Wijnen, B. and Pearce, J.M., 2015. Multi-material additive and subtractive prosumer digital fabrication with a free and open-source convertible delta RepRap 3-D printer. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 21(5), pp.506-519.

Appropedia. 2016. Recyclebot. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Oct. 2016]

Baechler, C., DeVuono, M. and Pearce, J.M., 2013. Distributed recycling of waste polymer into RepRap feedstock. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 19(2), pp.118-125. (2016). Black Mambas. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Berman, B., 2012. 3-D printing: The new industrial revolution. Business horizons, 55(2), pp.155-162.

Birtchnell, T. and Hoyle, W., 2014. 3D printing for development in the global south: The 3D4D challenge. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bowyer, A., 2014. 3D Printing and Humanity's First Imperfect Replicator. 3D printing and additive manufacturing, 1(1), pp.4-5.

Canessa, E., Fonda, C., Zennaro, M. 2013. Low-‐cost 3D printing for science, education and sustainable development. Low-Cost 3D Printing, 11. (2005). Racing bicycles - Safety requirements and test methods. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Compton, B. and Lewis, J. (2014). 3D Printing: 3D-Printing of Lightweight Cellular Composites (Adv. Mater. 34/2014). Adv. Mater., 26(34), pp.6043-6043.

Cruz, F., Lanza, S., Boudaoud, H., Hoppe, S. and Camargo, M., 2015. Polymer Recycling and Additive Manufacturing in an Open Source context: Optimization of processes and methods. Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016]. (2016). Index of /TAZ/4.0. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016]. (2016). FreeCAD: An open-source parametric 3D CAD modeler. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Feeley, S.R., Wijnen, B. and Pearce, J.M., 2014. Evaluation of potential fair trade standards for an ethical 3-D printing filament. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(5), pp.1-12.

Field Ready. (2016). Field Ready - Humanitarian Supplies Made-in-the-Field. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Groenendyk, M. and Gallant, R. (2013). 3D printing and scanning at the Dalhousie University Libraries: a pilot project. Library Hi Tech, 31(1), pp.34-41.

Gwamuri, J., Franco, D., Khan, K.Y., Gauchia, L. and Pearce, J.M., 2016. High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development. Machines, 4(1), p.3. doi: 10.3390/machines4010003

Hamod, H. (2015). Suitability of recycled HDPE for 3D printing filament. Arcada - Nylands svenska yrkeshögskola. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Hazeltine, Barrett, and Christopher Bull. Appropriate Technology; Tools, Choices, and Implications. Academic Press, Inc., 1998.

Hunt, E.J., Zhang, C., Anzalone, N. and Pearce, J.M., 2015. Polymer recycling codes for distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 97, pp.24-30.

Irwin, J.L. Oppliger, D.E., Pearce, J.M., Anzalone, G. Evaluation of RepRap 3D Printer Workshops in K-12 STEM. 122nd ASEE 122nd ASEE Conf. Proceedings, paper ID#12036, 2015.

Jones, R., Haufe, P., Sells, E., Iravani, P., Olliver, V., Palmer, C. and Bowyer, A., 2011. RepRap–the replicating rapid prototyper. Robotica, 29(01), pp.177-191.

King, D.L., Babasola, A., Rozario, J. and J. M. Pearce, 2014. Mobile open-source solar-powered 3-D printers for distributed manufacturing in off-grid communities. Challenges in Sustainability, 2(1), pp.18-27.

Kreiger, M., Mulder, M., Glover, A. and Pearce, J. (2014). Life cycle analysis of distributed recycling of post-consumer high density polyethylene for 3-D printing filament. Journal of Cleaner Production, 70, pp.90-96.

Kreiger, M. and Pearce, J.M., 2013. Environmental impacts of distributed manufacturing from 3-D printing of polymer components and products. In MRS Proceedings (Vol. 1492, pp. 85-90). Cambridge University Press.

Kreiger, M. and Pearce, J.M., 2013. Environmental life cycle analysis of distributed three-dimensional printing and conventional manufacturing of polymer products. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 1(12), pp.1511-1519.

Laplume, A.O., Petersen, B. and Pearce, J.M., 2016. Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective. Journal of International Business Studies 47(5), pp. 595–609.

Laplume, A.O., Anzalone, G.C., Pearce. J.M. 2016. Open-source, self-replicating 3-D printer factory for small-business manufacturing. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. 85(1), pp 633-642.

Lopes da Silva, J.V., 2013, October. 3D technologies and the new digital ecosystem: a Brazilian experience. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (pp. 278-284). ACM.

Louie, H., 2011, July. Experiences in the construction of open source low technology off-grid wind turbines. In Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2011 IEEE (pp. 1-7). IEEE. (2016). Filament | [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Merlo, D.F. Ing, D. and Mazzoni, S., 2015. Gas evolution during FDM 3D printing and health impact. 3D

Moilanen, J., 2012. Emerging hackerspaces–peer-production generation. In Open Source Systems: Long-Term Sustainability (pp. 94-111). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Moilanen, J. and Tere, V. 2012. Manufacturing in motion: first survey on 3D printing community. [Online] Available: [Accessed: 22-Nov-2014].

Moilanen, J. and Vadén, T., 2013. 3D printing community and emerging practices of peer production. First Monday, 18(8).

Mota, C. 2011. The Rise of Personal Fabrication, in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, New York, NY, USA, 279–288. (2016). Ingeo PLA filament in 3D printing. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Pearce, J.M., 2012. The case for open source appropriate technology. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14(3), pp.425-431.

Pearce, J.M., 2013. Open-source lab: how to build your own hardware and reduce research costs. Elsevier.

Pearce, J.M., 2015a. A novel approach to obviousness: An algorithm for identifying prior art concerning 3-D printing material. World Patent Information 42, pp. 13–18.

Pearce, J.M. 2015b. Applications of Open Source 3-D Printing on Small Farms. Organic Farming 1(1), pp.19-35.

Pearce, J.M., Blair, C.M., Laciak, K.J., Andrews, R., Nosrat, A. and Zelenika-Zovko, I., 2010. 3-D printing of open source appropriate technologies for self-directed sustainable development. Journal of Sustainable Development, 3(4), pp.17-29.

Pham, D. and Gault, R. (1998). A comparison of rapid prototyping technologies. International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture, 38(10-11), pp.1257-1287.

Rifkin, J., 2014. The zero marginal cost society: the internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism. Macmillan.

Rosas, L. 2013. Characterization of Parametric Internal Structures for Components Built by Fused Deposition Modeling, University of Windsor. (2013).

Rumpala, Y., 2016. A New Printing Revolution? 3D Printing as an Agent of Socio-Political Change. International Journal of Technoethics (IJT), 7(2), pp.105-123.

Rundle, G. 2014. A Revolution in the Making. Affirm Press; South Melbourne.

Sells, E., Smith, Z., Bailard, S., Bowyer, A. and Olliver, V., 2010. RepRap: the replicating rapid prototyper: maximizing customizability by breeding the means of production. In Piller, F. T., and Tseng, M. M., Handbook of Research in Mass Customization and Personalization: Strategies and concepts (Vol. 1), World Scientific.

Shaffer, S., Yang, K., Vargas, J., Di Prima, M. and Voit, W. (2014). On reducing anisotropy in 3D printed polymers via ionizing radiation. Polymer, 55(23), pp.5969-5979. (2016). PLA Filament Large Spool — 0.9kg. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Tanikella, N.G., Wittbrodt, B.T., Pearce,J.M., 2016 Tensile Strength of Commercial Polymer Materials for Fused Filament Fabrication 3-D Printing. (To be published).

Troxler, P., 2010, Commons-based peer-production of physical goods: Is there room for a hybrid innovation ecology? In 3rd Free Culture Research Conference, Berlin.

Tymrak, B.M., Kreiger, M. and Pearce, J.M., 2014. Mechanical properties of components fabricated with open-source 3-D printers under realistic environmental conditions. Materials & Design, 58, pp.242-246.

Torrado Perez, A., Roberson, D. and Wicker, R. (2014). Fracture Surface Analysis of 3D-Printed Tensile Specimens of Novel ABS-Based Materials. J Fail. Anal. And Preven., 14(3), pp.343-353. (2016). Cura 3D Printing Slicing Software | Ultimaker. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Vega, V., Clements, J., Lam, T., Abad, A., Fritz, B., Ula, N. and Es-Said, O.S., 2011. The effect of layer orientation on the mechanical properties and microstructure of a polymer. Journal of materials engineering and performance, 20(6), pp.978-988.

Wijnen, B., Hunt, E.J., Anzalone, G.C. and Pearce, J.M., 2014. Open-source syringe pump library. PLoS One, 9(9), p.e107216.

Wittbrodt, B. and Pearce, J.M., 2015. The effects of PLA color on material properties of 3-D printed components. Additive Manufacturing, 8, pp.110-116.

Wittbrodt, B.T., Glover, A.G., Laureto, J., Anzalone, G.C., Oppliger, D., Irwin, J.L. and Pearce, J.M., 2013. Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers. Mechatronics, 23(6), pp.713-726.

Yan, X. and Gu, P. (1996). A review of rapid prototyping technologies and systems. Computer-Aided Design, 28(4), pp.307-318.


  • There are currently no refbacks.