Customized, 3D-printed bike helmets offer comfort and safety

Exclusively for K-Mag

Picture: a man and a woman with bikes on a mountain and KAV bicycle helmets on their heads; Copyright: KAV

For its cushioning material, KAV has replaced the widely used EPS foam, which is lightweight and inexpensive but has performance limitations, with a customized 3D-printed liner. Copyright: KAV


Image: Whitman Kwok, a smiling man in a bicycle helmet, jokingly holding a large hammer on it; Copyright: KAV

An avid cyclist himself, Whitman Kwok decided to create a better helmet since the ones he used to wear were ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Copyright: KAV

Finding the right 3D printing material

Partnering with Jabil

Picture: The bicycle helmet in different colors; Copyright: KAV

After initially experimenting with a carbon fiber nylon composite, Kwok realized that wouldn’t work because it would only be available in black. Instead, KAV partnered with Jabil to create a customized polycarbonate-based filament material that allows for a range of colors. Copyright: KAV

Creating a totally new material in 9 months

Adapting for color changes

Image: X-ray image of the KAV bicycle helmet with honeycomb structure; Copyright: KAV

This x-ray image reveals the complexity of KAV’s 3D-printed Hex Honeycomb Structure. Copyright: KAV

Leveraging & modifying honeycomb technology

Robert Grace

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