Anyhow, I've been seeing quite a bit on the bike industry blogs about this: The 3-D printed ARC Bicycle. Designed by a group of students at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, the bike's wire mesh-like frame is constructed by welding robots which built up the frame's structure about one millimeter at a time. It is said that the process took about 100 hours.
The results speak for themselves:
|Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.|
I do, however, wonder what the point is. Yes, I'm kind of myopic when it comes to applying every possible new technology to bicycles. But I just don't see the benefit. The thing is generally pretty ugly (just my opinion, but I'm entitled to it). It looks almost like what you'd get if you tried to make a bike out of chicken wire, or maybe chain-link fencing. It is mostly made by an automated process that eliminates the intrusion of hand-craftsmanship that I particularly enjoy in a bicycle when I'm not riding it (and while I am riding it too, for that matter). And even though it is mostly an open mesh-like structure, it doesn't save any weight, either. The makers claim that it weighs a little under 20 kg -- which is nearly 44 pounds! No idea what the ride would be like, but I expect that its structure would make it feel pretty dead. Kind of like riding a bridge.
The goal of the project wasn't to create a lightweight bike though. I guess they just wanted to see if it could be done. OK, guys. You did it.
Now pat yourselves on the back.
By the way, as is usually the case with these design exercises, the bike is a fixed-gear machine with no brakes. I still can't figure out why designers keep rolling out high-tech and futuristic urban bike designs that assume nobody needs to stop. Do automakers unveil brakeless concept cars? Hell no. Even if the concept car is a non-functioning mock-up, they'll still put some pretty impressive-looking brakes on it. They're a selling point for cryin' out loud.
Aaaanyhow. . .
That's all for now.