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Full Span of "3D Printed Steel Bridge" Complete

MX3D | 1:00

Full Span of "3D Printed Steel Bridge" Complete

Peter Smisek

6 April 2018

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THE world’s first 3D printed steel bridge is a step closer to completion with the full, 12.5 metre (41 foot) main bridge span now created (as shown in this video).

Intended for pedestrians and cyclists, the new bridge will cross a canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

It has been developed by MX3D in collaboration with Arup, ArcelorMittal, Autodesk and ABB among others.

The bridge is intended to showcase the possibilities of 3D printing using metal alloys as well as the formal possibilities of following a parametric design process. In the future, MX3D's engineers would like to use this manufacturing process on site as well.

Above and Below: The main span of the MX3D's bridge is now complete (images courtesy of MX3D).

The printing process took six months and used 4.5 tonnes of stainless steel - amounting to some 680 miles (1,100 kilometres) of printing wire.

Above: The 30-strong team at MX3D demonstrate the bridge's structural soundness ahead of formal tests (image courtesy of MX3D).

Load tests will be carried out in the coming months to ensure the bridge is structurally sound and safe for public use. If successful, the bridge could be installed in its location as early as 2019.

Above: The bridge will receive a steel deck and a clear coating to make it functional (image courtesy of MX3D).

Some finishing touches are still needed: the bridge is still to receive its steel deck, and will be coated in a clear finish to protect it from the elements.

Smart sensors will be installed on the bridge to monitor its performance over time and to create a digital twin of the bridge, providing valuable data that can be used in future designs.

Above: Sensors placed on the bridge will help create its "digital twin", allowing engineers to design better 3D printed bridges in the future ( image courtesy of MX3D). 

MX3D's progress follows our reporting of their initial concept in October 2017 and, separately, the work of students at the Technical University of Eindhoven who 3D printed a bridge from concrete

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