Apr 15, 2016 | By Alec

The Dutch love their bikes, and this can be said for all echelons of society. Even the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs Henk Kamp enjoys going for a ride, which he did with a remarkable 3D printed steel bicycle at the Innovation Expo in Amsterdam on 14 April. Called the Arc Bicycle, it was 3D printed by a team of Dutch students from the Technical University of Delft, with help from the technical experts of MX3D.

All this took place at the sixth edition of the Innovation Expo in Amsterdam, a one day event that brought over 200 innovations, 4000 entrepreneurs and academics, and the Dutch government together. The Dutch government is very keen to support technological and green innovation, so they were represented in great numbers. Around 70 EU ministers and members of the European Parliament were also present. Even Prime Minister Mark Rutte attended, who gave a lecture on the expo’s main topic: Sustainable Urban Delta.

But there was also plenty of room for other Dutch innovations that contribute to a changing Dutch society increasingly packed with smart technology and alternative energy. Among them was this 3D printed bike, which was completed a few months ago. Remember the ambitious plans of Dutch startup MX3D to build the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge in Amsterdam? While still a work-in-progress project, the Dutch engineers behind that impressive MX3D metal 3D printer gladly helped the Delft student team 3D print this remarkable stainless steel bike, which they have been showcasing at a number of events to illustrate this remarkable 3D printing technique.

The Arc Bicycle itself was designed during a three month research project at the Industrial Design Engineering 3D Building FieldLab. “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,” Industrial design student Harry Anderson previously told 3ders.org.

The bike itself weighs about as much as a regular steel bicycle, and rides exactly like you would expect from a regular bike. “It was important for us to design a functional object that people use every day. Being students in the Netherlands, a bicycle naturally came to mind. A bicycle frame is a good test for the technology because of the complex forces involved,” Stef de Groot explained. Minister Kamp, whose Ministry is responsible for facilitating new economic opportunities, was reportedly very impressed. A video clip of his test run can be found here.

But of course none of this would have been possible without the help of the Amsterdam-based startup MX3D. As you might recall, this startup specializes in multi-axis 3D printing and has developed a ground-breaking method for using robotic arms– enabling them to 3D print both resins and metals (steel, aluminum, copper, bronze and more) mid-air, without the need for support structures. MX3D was also present at the Innovation Expo, and will reportedly finish their bridge in 2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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