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Stainless Steel Cars, Bicycles Rewrite the Norm

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

From fancy new bicycles to charmingly vintage automobiles, the transportation buzz is all about stainless steel these days.

For one, the clever Dutch have been at it again on the 3D printing front, having just produced the world's first 3D-printed bicycle. This handsome means of modernized conveyance is the product of a partnership between students at the Netherlands Delft University of Technology—the largest and oldest public technical university in Holland—and Amsterdam-based 3D printing startup, MX3D.

The fully functioning beauty was created as part of a research project exploring the viability of metal 3D printing—an important investigation in these days of ever-advancing technological improvements in 3D-printing land.

The bike was created courtesy of robot arm-mounted welding machines that eject molten steel, that the students then spot-weld in the air in layers atop one another, each new layer improving the strength of the final product.

The results of their efforts—the Arc Bicycle—is an artistic stunner. It's a sturdy ride about the same weight as an average bike, despite the apparent delicacy of its spidery, intertwined stainless steel columns.

And that snazzy new two-wheeler may soon share road space with an old-style automobile, one whose reinvention will delight movie and car buffs alike.

In 2017, new DeLorean DMC-12s will glide off the assembly line for the first time in 33 years.

This all-stainless-steel vehicle, which captured public consciousness as the matte-finished marvel in Back to the Future, enjoys the distinction of being pretty much the only stainless-steel-exterior car ever built.

Some 300 cars will be produced in total, each sporting a price tag of around US$100,000.

Before Congress passed the Low-Volume Vehicle Manufacturers' Act of 2015 last year, such a car could never have seen this millennium's light of day. But this legislation exempts smaller one-off companies like the DMC from the same production and safety standards to which mass-market automobile makers must conform.

And so a revised and brand new, stainless-bodied, gull-wing-doored DMC-12 could well live to delight another generation.

Stainless steel and wheeled vehicles are proving a heady combination. Watch this space.

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