MX3D releases updated Arc Bike II 3D printed from titanium

Amsterdam-based Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) technology developer MX3D has released an updated take on it 3D printed bike. Titled the “Arc Bike II”, it is 3D printed from aluminum using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology.

Thanks to the aluminum material, the Arc Bike II is significantly lighter than its predecessor, the Arc Bike I, which was made from stainless steel. MX3D explain that the new project demonstrates the progress of the technology development at the company, and the speed at which one can go from idea to end product. The bike will be made available for purchase soon in limited quantities on the MX3D website.

Thomas Van Glabeke, project leader of the Arc Bike II, states, “It took some time to master aluminum printing, which is more challenging than other metals, but the outcome was a convincing strong and lightweight bike.” 

“After the initial technical challenges were solved, it was amazing to see the turnover speed from idea to final product. It’s exciting, I can’t wait to see a whole family of these bikes rolling of the MX3D production line.” 

Front view of the Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.
Front view of the Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.

MX3D and the future of production 

MX3D aims to introduce the advantages of metal 3D printing to new and high impact industries using intelligent robotic additive manufacturing technology. The company believes that the automated and autonomous production of unique computer-generated parts and structures using robots is the future of manufacturing. 

MX3D’s production process involves the use of a robotic arm and WAAM 3D printer in conjunction with its software to produce large and complex metal objects. The company claims that its software can transform “an off-the-shelf robotic arm and a welding machine [into] an industrial manufacturing machine.” 

The company’s creative projects, such as the Arc Bikes, are undertaken for research and development purposes in order to establish critical expertise through experience. An ongoing project over the last four years from MX3D includes its 3D printed stainless steel bridge. Originally commencing in 2015, construction of the bridge was planned for 2016 however it was delayed due to various setbacks. MX3D then unveiled that it would integrate the bridge with smart technology using a sensor network and digital twin to monitor the bridge’s health in real-time. 

The bridge finished construction and was exhibited at the Dutch Design Week (DDW) in Eindhoven in October 2018. Currently, it is being tested at the University of Twente, after which it will be installed across the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in the center of Amsterdam. MX3D is collaborating with the likes of Autodesk, TU Delft, ArcelorMittal and more to construct and implement its 3D printed bridge. 

The Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.
The Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.

The Arc Bike II and MX3D beta software

MX3D’s Arc Bike II is significant in that it represents the company’s first 3D printing project using aluminum, and it acts as a prelude to a “much bigger project” in the pipeline. The design of the bike can be customized according to the rider’s body proportions using generative design software. MX3D’s software then translates the generative design data into instructions for the robot, after which it 3D prints a tailored bike frame within 24 hours. 

The software used by MX3D to 3D print the Arc Bike II is currently in beta. The company has made its software available for pre-order, where it aims to help industrial and creative clients develop their own large scale metal 3D printing projects. MX3D received funding in the first half of 2019 from DOEN Participations and PDENH to help develop its technology and launch the beta software product. At Formnext 2019, which takes place from 19 to 22 November in Frankfurt, the company will be presenting its beta software. 

Close-up of the Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.
Close-up of the Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.

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Featured image shows the side view of the Arc Bike II. Photo via MX3D.