A 3D printing robot slowly builds world’s first 3D printed steel bridge. Picture by: Olivier de Gruijter.
This article was last updated on the 24th of October 2017.
We are happy to announce the installation of an exciting piece of technology right in the middle of the famous Red Light District. Over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam, the first 3D printed bridge of steel will be built.
The Red Light District is not only famous for its brothels and coffeeshops but also for the architecture and it’s fairy tale-canals with a whole range of old bridges. With the introduction of the first 3D printed bridge made of steel, both the technology of the future and the city’s historic past will be encapsulated. The designers take into account its location and try to show the best of both worlds, old and new. Over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal a temporary pedestrian bridge is currently installed. It is one of the most used bridges in the Red Light District and it connects the bars, brothels and houses. As there are almost 10,000 visitors each day and around 9,000 residents, the bridge is an important passage in this area.
The Amsterdam engineering start-up, MX3D, announced the location last week at the official opening of the construction site on the NDSM werf in the North of Amsterdam. The company started as a small design studio but has now created a whole company around the 3D printed bridge. The plan to build a 3D printed bridge was announced earlier this year in June. The deputy mayor of Amsterdam has now revealed the location of where the bridge is going to be, right in the middle of the Red Light District.
The reason that the bridge is being built on the canal-side of the Red Light District is that the canals here are relatively small. The 3D printed bridge will be eight metres long and four metres wide. Because this is a world first, it will also be a test of the technique on it’s suitability for further use. The aim of 3D steel printing is to use it for more complex conditions, such as high buildings. As a kick-off project it makes sense to start with a bridge over a canal in the city centre.
Originally the company planned to print the bridge at the actual location. However, as it is quite busy in this area the 3D printed bridge will not be printed live at the spot. An ideal location is a shed at the NDSM werf located in the north of Amsterdam. The bridge will be printed in one piece in this former shipbuilding hangar before being transported to the city centre. The robotic printers can draw a complex steel structure which is a composition of several shapes. The robots build up the structure by forming struts out of thousands of precisely placed blobs of molten steel. The robotic printing arms walk across the bridge span as it slides along the bridge’s edges. It also prints its own support structure as it moves along.
This is where the 3d printed bridge will be placed. Just in opposite of Casa Rosso.
MX3D has been working on the 3D printed bridge for over two years now. The first part is now finished. By the end of 2018 the project should be ready. MX3D’s people have been busy testing and printing different types of materials and constructions. The first 3D printed bridge is still being built inside a hanger. In the fall of 2018 the bridge will be installed on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam. If it’s up to MX3D the second bridge will be printed out in the open because the technology has progressed this far already!
During our Red Light District tours we’ll walk across this bridge whilst telling you everything you need to know about this oldest part of Amsterdam. Book our tour, get to see this 3D printed steel bridge and learn what the Red Light District is really all about!