The potential offered by 3D printing today is vast. From medical engineering to architecture, through manufacturing, mechanics and automotive, with a 3D printer, anything you can think of can be done, in a specific and precise way for each need.
Here we want to tell you about a fascinating and innovative project that has emerged thanks to this type of technology, and for which a start-up of architects has set to work, giving Amsterdam a very special structure. What is it about? The world’s first three-dimensional printed stainless steel bridge, installed over one of the many fascinating canals that characterize the Dutch capital.
image credit: MX3D
Would you ever have thought that a winding and spectacular steel bridge like this could be 3D “printed” and assembled by super-sophisticated robotic arms capable of welding stainless steel bars? If you answered no, looking at (and walking through) MX3D – that’s the name of the futuristic structure – maybe you should reconsider the question.
It was not easy for the architect Joris Laarman and all the technicians and experts of the robotics start-up MX3D to achieve this feat. This curious bridge, designed in 2015, took many years of design, as well as six months of manufacture and nearly 5 tonnes of steel to come to life. In the end, after many days of hard work, Amsterdam was able to accommodate this record-breaking structure.
Thus, in the heart of the famous red-light district, and more precisely in the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, pedestrians can cross the canal by walking on the 12 meters of steel that compose it.
As we have mentioned, it is the first in the world to have been made using this advanced technique and, looking at it, it cannot fail to catch the attention of visitors and passers-by, with its rounded and assertive shapes. .
“3D printing and robotics finally make it possible to achieve optimized and super-sized designs, even in metal,” said Gijs van der Velden , co-founder of MX3D.
“This technique can lead to more sustainable structures, the team continues. The industry faces a huge challenge to become carbon neutral in 2050”. Fewer materials for greater respect for the environment, therefore, as well as greater lightness: this bridge is a real laboratory for the architecture of the future .
And the MX3D bridge, according to its designers, is also 100% safe. Thanks to a series of very sophisticated sensors, it has been possible to build a kind of digital “twin” of the bridge, which will be able to provide fundamental data on the condition of the structure, as well as on the load levels and corrosion to which it is subjected.
In short, a truly futuristic and original urban design object, which embellishes the canals of Amsterdam. What do you think of this structure?