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Dutch Students Create a Unique 3D Printed Metal Bicycle with Help from MX3D

by • February 2, 2016 • 27s Comments

Arc_Bicycle_High_Res_1It appears like a thing Spiderman can have made – a bike made of sturdy, silvery webbing pretty holding together tires, seat, and handlebars. In actuality it was made by a group of Dutch college students – not superhuman, maybe, but revolutionary all the same. Harry Anderson, Stef de Groot, Ainoa Areso Rossi, Sjoerd van de Velde, and Joost Vreeken are all students in the engineering department at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Their three-month research project culminated in the Arc Bicycle – the very initially metal bicycle to be generated via a 3D printing and welding system.

The system is known as Wire and Arc Additive Manufacturing, or WAAM. It is a specialty of MX3D, whom you may remember for their 3D printed steel bridge project. They’ve created a absorbing innovation that involves via giant, multi-axis robotic arms as 3D printing devices, enabling for metal and resin materials to in fact be printed in mid-air, without any require for assist structures. MX3D invited the student team to create a thing that may demonstrate their innovation as part of a research project into the WAAM method.

Arc_Bicycle_High_Res_8“3D printing has exploded in popularity in the last decade but for those wanting to print medium to sizeable scale objects, there are yet worthwhile limitations in the innovation,” said Anderson. “This method of 3D printing makes it possible to create medium to sizeable scale metal objects with approximately total form freedom.”

The project was in addition a way for MX3D to test a new print software they are developing with their partners for the bridge project. There were a few snags with how the software’s algorithms handled the bike’s geometry, but after tweaking the software a bit, things ran smoothly; the frame began to take shape bit by bit as the robotic arms simultaneously deposited and welded the stainless steel material. As the bike came together, it appeared too fragile to assist a person’s mass, but appearances are deceiving.

“It was significant for us to create a functional object that folks use everyday,” said de Groot. “Being students in the Netherlands, a bicycle naturally came to mind. A bicycle frame is a great test for the innovation for the reason of the hard forces involved.”


That test proved to be successful, as the accomplished bike was taken for its initially test ride around the city of Delft. Not just did it easily assist the mass of its riders, but it made for a jolly ride, handling the cobblestone streets of Delft with ease and gliding through sharp turns. The bike weighs of the same as a typical steel bicycle, of 12 kg.

Arc_Bicycle_High_Res_6The Arc Bicycle made its public debut at a university science fair. Due to a few delays, the construction hadn’t been entirely accomplished at that time, but it gained a lot of attention nonetheless. Visitors to the students’ booth were intrigued by the bike’s one-of-a-kind method of construction, and were incredulous that a stainless steel bicycle may be so lightmass. According to the students, the bike is “primarily a concept bicycle” but they hope that others can take note of the project and create on their research for next 3D printed bicycles. This project, along with the MX3D bridge, should pretty draw a few attention to the WAAM system and, in particular, MX3D’s multiple-robotic-arms method of printing, that appears to have primary future for making. If you’d like to read of the Arc Bicycle’s development in additional more detail, you can take a appear at the students’ blog; at a lower place, you can see it for by yourself. Share your thoughts on this system in the 3D Printed Metal Bike forum over at 3DPB.com.