Amsterdam based startup MX3D has revealed the first part of its 3D printed steel pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to be completed early next year. Once it has been built, and the canal wall renovation is completed the bridge will be installed on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, in the red light district of Amsterdam.
The company created intelligent software that transforms a robot and a welding machine into a large scale printer, enabling 3D printing of metals on an architectural scale. The technique greatly extends the form freedom for architects and engineers and has huge potential to reduce the amount of material needed to make large structures.
The initial design of the 12m bridge has changed significantly. As knowledge of the (safety) requirements, material properties and technical potential was expanded, a final model emerged earlier this year and this was developed into the final bridge design by Joris Laarman Lab. In March, printing and assembly of large 1m bridge elements began.
In parallel MX3D engineers continued working on realising their vision of autonomous robots 3D-printing infrastructure. This summer, a robot has been placed on the bridge to test the aim of robots printing live, onsite, without human intervention.
MX3D has opened a visitor centre to allow professionals and general public alike to see the printing process. A small entrance fee will help support MX3D in finishing the bridge, which is a non-profit research project. Information can be found at: mx3d.com/visitor
The MX3D project has been achieved through close collaboration with partners Autodesk, Heijmans, Joris Laarman Lab and ArcelorMittal and the support of lead structural engineer Arup, Air Liquide, ABB Robotics and Lenovo. Sponsors are STV, Oerlikon and Plymovent. The public partners are TU Delft, AMS Institute (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Studies) and the Municipality of Amsterdam. The Visitor Center is supported by the Dutch VSB Fund.
There will be a full article on this project in the next issue of Bridge design & engineering