The company that is planning to 3D print the world's first steel bridge has now set its sights to something a little more personal: creating the world's 3D printed steel bike. Designed by students at TU Delft (Delft University of Technology), the attractive Arc Bicycle was 3D printed and welded by MX3D, the same company that is planning to print a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam. See it on the road:
According to Dezeen, the Arc Bicycle was created as part of a six-month rapid prototyping design course. The bike's design is meant to showcase the technology behind MX3D's six-axis robotic arms, which were used to print and weld the latticed frame in layers; the multiple axes allow for mid-air printing from any direction, without requiring support structures. Harry Anderson from the 3D Building FieldLab team at TU Delft explains why this is a significant project:
3D printing has exploded in popularity in the last decade, but for those wanting to print medium- to large-scale objects there are still significant limitations in the technology. This method of 3D printing makes it possible to produce medium- to large-scale metal objects with almost total form freedom.
The students chose to fabricate a bicycle since it's a common object that most people are familiar with. The team's design weights about the same as a regular steel bike, and during their test rides over the cobbled streets of the city, the bike seemed durable and up to the task.
The Arc is quite a departure from your usual, straightforward tube frame type of bike. But it looks pretty darn neat, and may even have other potential structural advantages that could be incorporated into future bike designs. More over at Dezeen, TU Delft and MX3D.