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3D Printed Bridge in Red Light District of Amsterdam

Posted on: October 20, 2015

3D printed bridge in Amsterdam Red Light District

We are happy to announce the installation of an exciting piece of technology right in the middle of the Red Light District. Over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, the first 3D printed bridge of steel will be built.

3D printed bridge in Amsterdam’s Red Light District

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.

Dutch start-up

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.

3d printed bridge in Red Light District of Amsterdam
This is what the bridge in the Red Light District looks like right now.

Building site

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.

Complex process

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 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.

A 3d printed bridge will be placed on this spot in Amsterdam's Red Light District.
This is where the 3d printed bridge will be placed. Just in opposite of Casa Rosso.

Time schedule

How long it will take to print a complete bridge is not yet known. The printing itself is also a design process. The structure needs to take everything into account, including its location in the city centre. The current estimation of the printing process and the installation on its final location is mid-2017.
The shed where the bridge will be printed is open to the public. The ongoing printing project can be followed by everyone. If you want to visit the NDSM werf be aware of the special visiting hours.



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