Ronin Bicycle Works: Hand-Folded Metal Bicycle Frame
Ronin Bicycle Works: Hand-Folded Metal Bicycle Frame
Help a small group of engineers implement their new method of bending sheet metal to create new and exciting bicycle frame designs.
Help a small group of engineers implement their new method of bending sheet metal to create new and exciting bicycle frame designs. Read more
About this project
Hand Folded Sheet Metal Bicycle Frames?
Basically, we’ve discovered a way to make folding sheet metal as easy as creating origami with paper.
We’ve taken an old art form and invented a new way to produce with sheet metal. We’ve broadened the material base to include stronger materials like titanium that were extremely impractical to form traditionally. We can form shapes without prohibitively expensive machinery and with a high degree of accuracy.
Since we are steeped in bike culture in the Bay Area and San Francisco, we decided to see if we could apply our technology to bicycle frames. We quickly realized that our new technology lends itself very well to creating lightweight chassis for transportation. What we came up with exceeded even our expectations. After prototyping extensively with heavy stock paper, we built a frame using 0.024 inch thick 6061-T6 aluminum sheet. We were able to build a lightweight, stiff and super fun frame on the very first go. The secret that allows us to fold an accurate assembly from sheet metal by hand lies in the special patent pending perforations cut into the material. This gives the folds that unique twisted wrought iron look. We can hand fold tubes that change shape, curve and form pre-stressed self-reinforcing tubes. The result:
Aren’t welded tubes good enough?
Sure, tube construction has made sense for a long time. Why not continue to force metal through extrusions, cut it to length, cut the ends to mate up, bend it into shape, and run a ton of current through it to melt it all together? We believe there is a more elegant solution. Why not print a tube pattern on a flat sheet of metal, fold it up and glue / rivet it together? With our method, frames can be “printed” at a local shop and assembled by anyone who can glue and operate a rivet gun. Also, our technique skips any welding that can weaken the the frame material by creating heat affected regions at the joints. Heat affected regions soften the material near welded joints.
When can I get my frame?
We designed and built the first prototype in just under three weeks. In order to ensure the optimal performance of this design style, we’d like to take about double that time to run some iterations and explorations. After that, the first orders could start rolling out after a week and we plan on fabricating at a rate of 100 bike frames every six weeks. Of course, if we start outselling our projections, we can start hiring to speed up the process.
Where will the frames be produced?
The long term aim of our company is to promote local production, which empowers communities and cuts down on transportation issues. At the moment, we have set up partnerships with producers in the Bay Area and on the East Coast. If quantities allow, we can set up shops closer to where the product is being used.
Our Tshirts are American Apparel Jersey Tshirts in an aptly named color, asphalt.
Our messenger bags are come in a high visibility yellow or bike ninja black. The bag can carry your gear but not weigh you down with the dimensions 14.5" (L) x 12" (H) x 5" (W).
Who are you guys?
We are Ronin.We are a group of industry veterans that have been in the fabrication field for over 15-20 years (depending on which one of us you ask), who want to strike out on our own with our patent pending technology.
Rob - Our fearless leader. A mechanical engineering generalist, one who likes to bite off more than he can chew and still swallow. All around, just a guy that likes to wear many hats and help out any way he can so that the project will meet internal and external expectations.
Andy – A laid back product design specialist with a taste for variety and the designer of our first frame. Andy lives to tackle projects of all types and jumps in to build, model and design for actual people, so that the technology works sublimely under the surface to create great experiences.
Mark - Mark is the one, better known as the "Sheet Metal Whisperer" since he was practically raised in a sheet metal fabrication shop. His innate artistic abilities bring the highest level of craftsmanship and quality to every project he does. His great attention to the smallest detail will ensure that each bicycle frame will have that final, polished touch.
Want to read more?
Follow this link for more information on Ronin Metal Masters and our patent pending technology: http://www.roninmetalmasters.com/index.html or here for the bike project specifically http://www.roninmetalmasters.com/ronin-bicycle-works.html
We have established a site for our bicycle frame project here: http://www.roninbicycleworks.com, a blog here: http://roninbicycleworks.blogspot.com and facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/RoninBicycleWorks
So, thank you very much for taking time out to check out our project. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated. We will do our utmost to provide updates and answering any questions as best as possible.
Thank you for helping us make our dreams a reality!
Also, thanks to Doug Bresler of doogtoons http://www.doogtoons.com/ for providing the sound track on our video.
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