Silca has a falcon-like 3D-printed titanium bottle opener

Here's what happens when you give a bunch of engineers access to fancy new tech and no other directions.

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Silca, the brand known initially for pumps, then tools, and marginal gains, has turned its attention to 3D printing in recent times. They’ve got a 3D-printed computer mount, tools, MTB cleats, hour record bike parts – now the folks over at Silca have turned their 3D printers to the “fun” setting and come up with a bottle opener. There are no wattage savings here; no durability or efficiency gains, no digital pressure gauges – just some good old fun and a fancy bottle opener. 

Of course, a certain level of fanciness is expected in a bottle opener from Silca. That fanciness, in this case, comes not only from the 3D-printed titanium but from the name. Inspired by the peregrine falcon, Silca has named its latest offering the “Bird of Prey Bottle Opener”. There is also the weight. At a claimed 11 g, the Bird of Prey is 73 g lighter than my current go-to bottle opener. Yes, I weighed my bottle opener. 

3D-printed titanium products from Silca also carry the expectation of a certain level of pricing. Somewhat surprisingly, the Bird of Prey is priced at “just US$40. While not cheap for a keyring bottle opener, it is significantly cheaper than some of the answers when I asked Jeeves, “What is the most expensive keychain bottle opener”. It is also too “cheap” to make the bottle opener some trolling attempt from Silca.

Josh Poertner, CEO at Silca, explained the bottle opener initially came about as part of Silca’s ongoing advancement in 3D printing. “This is the answer to the question of what happens when you give a bunch of engineers access to the highest technology machines and software in the world and little other direction,” he said. “They will in turn, give you back a new technology for opening a bottle.”

Silca’s design team was training with some new technology when the bottle opener first came to be. “It [the bottle opener] was designed as part of our team learning a 3D printing optimization software called nTopology, which can do generative design,” Poertner explained. “[With nTopology] you put in a few hardpoints and loads to tell the program where there has to be material, then let the computer run thousands of designs to optimize the loads/forces with the minimal amount of material.”

Of course, Silca is not the first cycling company to get into the bottle-opening game. Campagnolo kicked that off with the Big Corkscrew many moons ago, and countless other biking brands have offered beer bottle openers down through the years. Although Silca’s 3D-printed titanium offering might be the first in the cycling industry, some 3D-printing experts have been down this road already, some with similar results, most likely due to the nTopology link. However, Silca’s opener is said to be both larger, lighter, and crucially, it’s available to buy at the Silca website.

Silca has also released a new Lotus 108-inspired T-shirt. After much time trial position negativity from Tom Pidcock and Chris Froome in recent weeks, the fact this T-shirt pays homage to the legendary track-bike-come-time-trial-bike might prove a welcome offering to aero fans.

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