Dutch students 3D print steel frame for Arc Bicycle

A team of students at the Delft University of Technology have printed the first stainless steel bike using a welding-based 3D-printing technique.

Engineering students at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have teamed up with the Amsterdam-based 3D-printing company MX3D to 3D print the Arc Bicycle, a stainless steel bike frame.

MX3D is a research studio, co-founded by designer Joris Laarman that plans to use the same technique to print the eight-metre bridge in one piece and install it over a canal in Amsterdam. The studio has a six-axis robotic arm to allow metals and resins to be printed mid-air in any direction, without support structures.

The Arc Bicycle weighs about as much as a regular steel-framed bike and is sturdy enough to ride on the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam.

Arc was built as a part of the six-month Joris Laarmancourse at the university and the bicycle's frame was built in several main sections from a metal lattice welded to one another by hand.

"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."