The world’s first 3D printed bridge

The world's first 3D printed bridge

The Dutch company MX3D has completed work on a prototype of a steel bridge produced using 3D printing technology. The structures can now be seen at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Ultimately, it will stand on one of the canals in the Red Light District.

MX3D, a Dutch technology start-up, in cooperation with architect Jorin Laarman, created the world’s first bridge printed using 3D printing technology. The steel structure measures 12 meters and is to be installed over one of Amsterdam’s canals. Currently, the bridge can be seen and walked across at the Dutch Design Week exhibition, which will last until October 28 in Eindhoven.

The first idea to “print” a bridge arose in 2015. The twelve-meter-high structure was created by robots from molten steel. In this way, the machines could form the shape of the crossing programmed by engineers and architects. The project had to meet the strict requirements of the city council, which include, among other things, specific parameters of resistance to collision with a boat. As company representatives say, the expectations presented by the Amsterdam authorities had a very significant impact on the final appearance of the bridge. It differs significantly from the initial conceptual plans.

Initially, it was planned that the bridge would be printed in the place where it was to be used. The company assumed that it would transport and install the robots on one of Amsterdam’s canals. However, it turned out that printing the bridge on site would not only be too expensive, but also too dangerous.

The project is also a kind of experimental facility. A number of technologically advanced sensors and measuring devices installed in the structure will help collect data that will become a guide for creating new projects of this type. The sensors will read data such as tension, rotation, load, displacement and vibration.

The bridge is to be installed over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Completion of the works is planned for mid-2019, when the ongoing renovation of the canal is completed.

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