Bath Spa graduate’s inspired-by-nature motorbike bracket wins global 3D printing challenge

January 12, 2021

A graduate of Bath Spa University has won an international 3D printing competition, landing $25,000 (£18,350) worth of investment to turn his idea for a special motorbike bracket into reality.

Heath Townsend discovered his passion for problem solving while studying for a BA (Hons) at Bath Spa. He has since gone on to launch his own 3D motorbike parts printing company Evol Components and has designed a motorbike bracket that clips around the forks to secure indicator lights in place. 

As the bracket, which was inspired by the human pelvis, makes the most of a new, unique rugged 3D printing material called COR Alpha, Heath decided to enter it into the Make It Real 3D Printing Challenge. The contest showcases designs from around the world using COR Alpha.

Having landed first place, Heath not only secured $25,000 worth of additive manufacturing services from US material science company PolySpectra – the company behind COR Alpha – he has also been approached by NASA astronaut Dr Yvonne Cagle, who reached out to him during his unique journey.

Heath, who studied 3D Design: Idea Material Object – now BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design – at Bath Spa, said: “Winning was honestly such an honour, all the finalists had incredible applications and have my full respect.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for a material like PolySpectra’s COR Alpha, the entire process has felt so natural. It’s such an exciting time, I have so many parts and products in the works.”

Reflecting on his time at Bath Spa, Heath added: “I met some amazing people there and I owe them all so much. Studying 3D Design at Bath Spa was the perfect environment and course for me, it allowed me to explore exactly what fascinated me within design.

“It’s funny to see how past projects and ideas influence projects I’m working on now. It really allowed me to develop from a purely engineering mindset and pursue organic design, the course was the ultimate injection of creativity.”

Heath says he is interested in teasing and pushing the limitations of 3D printing and investigating its efficiency potential.  

His lightweight organic design for his motorbike bracket takes advantage of COR Alpha’s unique properties, being both incredibly light and rugged enough to survive the heat, vibration and possible impact of being part of a high-speed vehicle. 

The design was inspired by nature – with two pieces that pop together using a ball-and-socket connection in a similar way to the human pelvis.

These are connected with machined parts, including the tiny indicator itself, while a series of protrusions guide the cables for the indicator along the edges of the bracket.

Heath’s advice for budding designers and makers is “learn more”.

He added: “It’s something I’m still doing myself. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Learn as much as you can, think of processes and techniques as weapons in your arsenal that you need to keep adding to.

“Then focus and specialise in what you’re drawn towards, only you will know what that is but that’s what developing your own craft is all about.”

Evol Components; motorbike bracket will be launched later this year.


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