The city of Amsterdam is working in collaboration with Dutch robotics company MX3D and Autodesk to create the first 3D-printed steel bridge which will be placed over a canal.
We’ve known for a while that 3D printing will have major implications for the world. Although we’ve seen some pretty cool 3D printed tech (from a 3D printed car, to a 3D printed heart), this is the first time we’ve seen 3D printing impact sustainability, and everyday use.
The city of Amsterdam is working in collaboration with a Dutch robotics company called MX3D and an engineering software company known as Autodesk to create the first 3D-printed steel bridge which will be placed over a canal.
Although the exact location has not yet been released, we know that the completion of the bridge is expected by 2017, but the actual printing will apparently take only two months. Estimations say the bridge will be nearly 24 feet in length.
MX3D is known for printing complex 3D (mostly metal) material that are suspended from midair with no support structures.
MX3D (and many others) has claimed that 3D printing technology is much more affordable and scalable than other kinds of technology. 3D printing can employ six-axis robots (robots that can move in six directions) and can therefore print with multiple kinds of material.
Popular 3D printers like MakerBot Replicator can print small objects that have been placed inside of its box-shape. But when printing isn’t limited to inside the box, much larger and more complex structures can be produced.
In MX3D’s YouTube video, they describe 3D printing as “drawing in midair” - and they manage to do this while supporting high-strength steels and other metal composites.
Basically, we have found a much faster, cheaper, and potentially safer way to build bridges, which will have massive ramifications for infrastructure worldwide - specifically places around the globe that are suffering from a lack of it.