Project Details

[Return to Previous Page]

3D-printed carbon fiber and elastomer bike saddle

Company: PSU Learning Factory (LF)

Primary: ME
Secondary: BME
Optional: MATSE

Non-Disclosure Agreement: NO

Intellectual Property: NO

In this project you will design a new bicycle saddle platform that allows complete customization of the riding experience. For example, one way would be to 3D print the rails and saddle shell out of carbon fiber and then snap a 3D-printed elastomeric top onto the shell. One or both components should be customizable to the shape of the user's pelvis, riding experience, and desired experience. The BME student(s) will ensure that the design protects body tissue and minimizes restriction to blood flow. Your team will use the new additive manufacturing capabilities in the Engineering Design and Innovation building to construct working prototypes. Since the elastomer can be printed in any color, the "cover" should be cool. Bike saddles all have the same mechanism for attaching to the seat post. But everything on top varies from saddle to saddle. By varying the contour and materials the designer is able to achieve different performance targets. More rigid saddles were thought to efficiently transmit power, while softer ones were thought to be more comfortable. Limitations in materials made tuning the saddle contour and compliance difficult. However, additive manufacturing has enabled complete customization of the saddle (e.g., the new Specialized Mirror saddle:



Our mission is to help bring the real-world into the classroom by providing engineering students with practical hands-on experience through industry-sponsored and client-based capstone design projects. Since its inception, the Learning Factory has completed more than 1,800 projects for more than 500 different sponsors, and nearly 9,000 engineering students at Penn State University Park participated in such a project.

The Learning Factory

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802