World’s First 3D Printed Steel Walkway Installed in Amsterdam | New


Image: MX3D

The world’s first 3D printed steel walkway was installed in Amsterdam. Created by the Dutch company MX3D, the bridge is 12 meters long and contains 4.5 tons of stainless steel forming a curved and fluid structure.

The bridge, formed of four main pieces, is intended to be more than a purely functional infrastructure, but will also serve as an artistic celebration of the potential of 3D printing technology. The structure will also become a “living laboratory”, equipped with dozens of sensors. Over the next four years, researchers at Imperial College London will study the data generated by the bridge, which they will use to monitor and measure the bridge’s performance in the real world.

Image: MX3D

The data collected from the bridge will allow researchers to monitor performance in real time, analyze how its performance has changed over its lifetime, and understand how the public interacts with 3D printed infrastructure. The data will be fed into a ‘digital twin’ of the physical bridge to mimic its performance and behavior, thus helping to inform future innovative construction projects involving 3D manufacturing.

Image: Joris Laarman Laboratory

“3D printing is fast becoming a major technology in engineering, and we need to develop appropriate approaches for testing and monitoring in order to realize its full potential,” says Professor Mark Girolami of the Alan Turing Institute, who participated in the design and monitoring of the bridge. . “When we combine 3D printing with digital twin technology, we can then speed up the infrastructure design process, ensuring that we design optimal and efficient structures in terms of environmental impact, architectural freedom and manufacturing costs. “

Image: MX3D

Printing of the bridge began in March 2017, taking approximately six months. The steel was printed layer by layer in four parts, plus four “corner swirls” which were manually welded together. Four commercially available industrial robots were used to print the bridge, which was transported to its location via a canal in central Amsterdam. The bridge was opened by the Dutch queen Maxima using a small robot.

Image: MX3D

News of the bridge’s opening comes a week after Knight Architects received approval for what is expected to be one of London’s busiest pedestrian bridges. We also reported last week the story of an architect who designed a bridge over the 101 freeway to help cougars safely cross the busy road in Los Angeles.

Picture: University of Twente / Twitter

The bridge is also the latest in a series of developments in the world of 3D printed structures. Last week, the Fibonacci house became the world’s first Airbnb listing to consist mostly of 3D printed parts, while Denizen unveiled a 3D printed desktop module for the future of remote working. Last month, Habitat for Humanity announced the construction of its first 3D printed home in the United States, seen as a milestone in the organization’s mission to provide affordable housing across the country.

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