The ARC bicycle created using 3D printing.

“Life is like riding a bicycle: you don’t fall  unless you stop pedaling” – Claude pepper. The recent developments in the manufacturing of cycles also didn’t stop pedaling and hence, we have a 3D printed metal bicycle frames, usually made using a sintering process, in which a laser is utilized to selectively melt steel powder, building it up in successive layers. Now however, a team of students from Netherlands have created the world’s first stainless steel bike made via welding-based 3D-printing technique.

The students used Mataerial 3D printer in the manufacturing of this bicycle. Unlike traditional 3D printers that build up layers on a flat surface, the Mataerial printer uses robotic arm to extrude metal on horizontal as well as vertical surfaces. Those columns of resin can be curved and linked together as they’re being extruded, quickly hardening into modern art-like creations.

More recently, a version of the Mataerial printer  was released  which created “prints” in welded metal. A metal column is created using globules of molten metal and this process is repeated till the metal hardens. By controlling the spaces in the welds,  the orientation of the metal column can be determined. No supporting materials are needed and pretty big structures can be formed using this printer.

The ‘prints’ in welded metal technology was first used to create a pedestrian bridge.This technology is later applied in the manufacturing of the bicycle. It’s frame has several main sections which are  welded and linked together by hand before the solidification of the metal.This bicycle is called the Arc bicycle. The finished product is claimed to weigh about as much as a traditional steel-framed bike and is fully capable of being ridden on rough cobblestone streets.

“It was important for us to design a functional object that people use everyday,” says team member Stef de Groot. “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.” The video below shows us , how to manufacture the ARC bicycle and set it into action!.


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