A student team from TU Delft in the Netherlands has designed and produced a fully functional 3D printed stainless steel bicycle. The designed frame demonstrates the potential of a new method for 3D printing metal. The students achieved the goal of their 3- month project by printing the frame of the bicycle with the help of MX3D in Amsterdam.
“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, ” explains team member Harry Anderson – industrial design student at RMIT university, Melbourne. “This method of 3d printing makes it possible to produce medium to large scale metal objects with almost total form freedom.”
In a video about the production process (below), the students prove the frame’s strength by riding the bicycle around the city of Delft. Weighing in under 20 kilograms, the bike rides like any other, performing well on the often bumpy cobblestone streets of the city. The first of its kind and the students hope that others will build on their research when designing 3D printed bicycles in the future.
“It was important for us to design a functional object that people use everyday. Being students in the Netherlands, a bicycle naturally came to mind,” says industrial design engineering student and Arc Bicycle team member Stef de Groot. “A bicycle frame is a good test for the technology because of the complex forces involved.”
The frame was printed with the help of MX3D, an R&D Startup in Amsterdam who specialise in multi-axis 3D printing. The company has developed a ground breaking method for using multi axis robotic arms as 3D printers. This allows metals and resins to be printed mid-air in any direction without the need for support structures.