Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bike Manufacturer Duratec Wants to Build You a Flying Bicycle


In an iconic scene from the Star Wars movies, hero Luke Skywalker out-races the evil Empire’s agents by riding flying speeder bikes through a dense forest. Needless to say, the bad guys get up close and personal with some bark and our heroes live to fight on.


Custom bike frame manufacturer Duratec Ltd wants to make that scene a reality—minus the face full of foliage.



Duratec made a name for itself designing, manufacturing and shipping bike frames tailored to customers’ comfort and performance needs. Because the small company keeps all production and manufacturing in-house, it needs software tools (like SolidWorks, CATIA V5 and 3DVIA Composer) and 3Dconnexion 3D mice to speed up and streamline design cycles.

Those tools give Duratec’s designers the time and creative energy for imaginative projects. Their latest is a groundbreaking flying bicycle. Using 3D mice and CAD software, the company’s creative minds turned a concept design for an electric bike into a two-wheeled heli-cycle that should be able to take off and land vertically.

“We relied heavily on modern technology to bring a childhood dream to life,” says Duratec owner Milan Duchek.

The bike is powered by electric motors, horizontal propellers and lithium-polymer batteries and sports a lightweight Duratec frame that weighs just 187 pounds.

Flying to work is likely some time off: the bike’s currently in the design phase. A prototype, however, is slated to debut later this year.

“We set ourselves the challenge more as an exercise in creativity and imagination,” says Duchek. “Thanks to our design suite, a modest idea was given wings! 3Dconnexion 3D mice played a significant role in that.”

And that’s what 3D design is all about: Dreaming up—and then creating—the impossible. Using CAD software and 3Dconnexion 3D mice, Duratec’s designers are keeping their heads firmly in the clouds. And their wheels on the ground. For now.

Read more about Duratec’s creative works and new-found productivity.



John Moseley is the director of global marketing for 3Dconnexion, the creator of 3D mice for design and visualization professionals.

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