A reporter came by yesterday and we are in todays ‘Het Parool’ newspaper, page 25, very exciting! The Article was picked up by several Bicycle companies and shared multiple times on twitter. Its nice to see that there is some public interest in our project.
Some of the initial runs of the first print have stalled due to some issues with how MX3D’s algorithms deals with our geometry. We are monitoring the robot closely during the first stage to allow the printing process to proceed as smoothly as possible. Working closely with the engineers we have been running some experiments, incrementally increasing or changing different parameters to find the optimal settings for the bike frame geometry. We hope that be spending more time tweaking certain settings will allow for faster and better quality prints.
We were very optimistic in thinking that we would start printing on Monday. We have spent most of this week fixing minor details of the design, such as deleting too short splines (up to 1cm). The guys at MX3D have been experimenting and troubleshooting new printing algorithms. Altogether it’s proving to be a tough job to get done in such a short amount of time. But we remain optimistic and hopeful that we will have a bicycle eventually!
In the meantime we have been thinking about how we could make a time-lapse of the printing process.
That morning we rode to Amsterdam in style: Sjoerd took us in his old-timer campervan. We arrived at NDSM where Jouke and Joost were assembling the CNC-milled tables that had just been printed the day before. We helped out the MX3D team by cleaning up, setting up and prepping our ‘stand’ where we showed some renders of the bike and had some printed models of the shape of the frame.
The opening speeches were given by: Tim from MX3D, Joris Laarman, Bert van der Elst (CEO Heijmans) and a representative from the city council of Amsterdam.
In the main hall the big robot arm had 2 flat screens attached to it and the smaller robot was set up with a pair of golden scissors. When the big red button was hit, the robot arm holding the scissor cut a ribbon, which caused a big banner to roll down. This in turn revealed the location where the 3D welded bridge will be located.
A lot of the visitors at the opening showed curiosity about our bicycle design. Our stand was very crowded and it was very encouraging to see how interested people were. Not only because it was probably cool to see that this technology can also be used to build mobile objects (in contrary to a bench or bridge), but people found the design very striking.
The bike parts were bought last week, so more accurate dimensioning is now possible. We’ve had some emails going back and forth with Filippo, who is giving us suggestions and advise on how to improve our design and make it (more) printable. In general he seemed quite content and thinks we can probably print it in one go. This was good to hear! We’re looking forward to going back to Amsterdam this week and talking to the team. Also we are still busy with the wooden tables for MX3D, and hoping to get them to them by Wednesday, on time for their grand opening!
This first designing week proved to be rather tough for us. We’ve decided that by this week Thursday afternoon we want to have a well-worked out first design to send to Filippo so we can get some feedback on it. We have little time and are finding it hard to communicate our ideas. We all have different educational backgrounds and different ideas on what we want and think is accomplishable. We started off by brainstorming about several themes and construction aspects that we would like to incorporate into the design. In the end we narrowed down the options drastically and agreed that ‘less would be more’. Most of us are working on the design, in particular Harry is turning out to be our Grasshoppper-guy. Sjoerd and Joost are working on assembling bike parts, that we can attach onto the frame to have a complete bike in the end, these are important design parameters. For the design we’ve mainly been sketching, using CAD models and using plasticine.
For the design of the splines we had two different ideas. One was to make it more organic-like and the other to make the splines look more like polygonal shapes. It was important to make a decision for this, as developing two individual models for this would be too time consuming. In the end we chose the organic splines, but we were happy with either. In Joosts’ words: ‘It’s like having to choose between your mother and your father’.
Monday afternoon we visited MX3D at the Laarman Labs in Amsterdam. Everyone’s eyes were wide open when we walked into the meeting room and saw designs such as the Bone chair, the Maker chair, Heatwave radiator and all sorts of other cool experimental test shapes and objects.
We had a good conversation with Filippo and Jakob, from the MX3D team. They gave us a lot of insight into the possibilities and limitations of the robot arm. Also they mentioned they have tackled some of the limitations but are still willing to run some tests, so perhaps we can incorporate that in our designs for the bicycle frame. We discussed the overall planning, and it came down to: this week making a design, next week work on printing strategy and solving problems and then the last week of October we will have a week with the robot to print. This is a tight schedule but we hope to get a result in the end.
Filippo gave us a little tour of the Laarman Labs. This was very cool. Almost every object you see there you cannot help but wonder how it was made. The tour ended with the Dragon bench, which may have been a little disappointing in size but definitely lived up to the rest of the expectations. It was inspiring to see.
We had a great day in Amsterdam. The robot can do a lot and Filippo and Jakob seemed willing to help us out if we run into problems with the programming. We saw some very cool stuff at the Laarman Labs and left Amsterdam with a very content feeling and looking forward to starting with the designs.
On Friday the second of October we visited MX3D at the NSDM wharf to introduce ourselves and take a look around. Their office is currently under construction, and we are hoping to help out by making some tables for them.The official opening of their new location is on the 16th of October. One of the co-founders, Tim Geurtjens, gave us a tour and showed us some of the capabilities of their machine. We got to see the bridge prototype that is featured in their promotional video, and which is the first project they worked on.
link to promo video MX3D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZNTzkAR1Ho