A Belgian tech consortium has created a one-of-a-kind 3D-printed bicycle that solidly positions the country’s Flanders region as the leading innovator for the still-emerging technology. The group, composed of 15 companies and research institutes, is called Flam王D (Flame3D) and its masterpiece is known as the 王-bike, which nobody has any idea how to pronounce. Ironically, despite all evidence to the contrary, Flam王D insists that the 王-bike is “NOT a 3D-printed bike.” Is that a nod to the region’s rich history in surrealism, or are they just messing with us?

The main reason Flam王D has chosen to be so flippant about its cycle creation is quite simple. Rather than focus on the product, the consortium hopes to inspire tech industry folks to look at the process by which it was developed. As 3D printing technology advances—even in the region of Flanders where Flam王D notes that any number of companies could easily print a bicycle—what becomes most important in further innovations in the field is cooperation. By combining the efforts of 13 companies and two research institutes, Flam王D says its goal is “demonstrating real innovations in [3D printing] and an obvious eagerness to cooperate,” according to its website. “The result happens to look like a bicycle.”

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Essentially, the 3D-printed bike is not meant to revolutionize the field of bicycle manufacturing. Rather, Flam王D intends it to be a demonstration tool to show companies and students what 3D-printing technology (in a cooperative team environment) is capable of producing. The bike was unveiled Aug. 27 at an event at Zolder Race Circuit, and is now on tour, sharing its message of innovation and cooperation at other events and fairs.

Flam王D consists of the following companies and research institutes: 3D&I, 3Dee, Formando, Hoet, KULeuven, Layered Prints, Materialise, MT3D, REIN4CED, RSPrint, Sirris, T&M Solutions, Tenco DDM, Ugent and Vamac. The consortium notes that the actual creation of the bicycle was made possible by further cooperative efforts by these firms: Ridley Bikes, r-l-f, Mobi-bikes, Bodycote IMT, koopjefiets.be and Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Via New Atlas

Images via Flam王D