Dutch 3D-printing start-up MX3D has revealed new details about their plans to install the world’s first 3D-printed metal bridge over a historic canal in Amsterdam.
Originally slated to be built in place, further research concluded that the design would have placed too much stress of the canal walls. So it was back to the drawing board, and the studio, where the updated design is now under construction. Featuring complex curves and a 12-meter-span, the bridge is now being constructed by MX3D’s sophisticated 3D-printed robot. And with about one-third of the structure already completed, it is back on schedule for a late 2018 installation on Amsterdam’s Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal.
To service both cyclists and pedestrians, the bridge will also serve as a “living laboratory,” with its performance to be monitored and analyzed by MX3D and a team of researchers from The Alan Turing Institute. An integrated network of sensors will be installed on the bridge to measure structural data such as displacement, strain and vibration, as well as environmental factors such as temperature and air quality. All of this data will be input into a continually updated 3D model of the bridge, which will allow the designers to learn from its performance and refine their designs for further iterations.
“The 3D printed bridge being installed by the MX3D team next year will be a world first in engineering. This data-centric, multidisciplinary approach to capturing the bridge’s data will also mark a step-change in the way bridges are designed, constructed, and managed, generating valuable insights for the next generation of bridges and other major public structures,” said Professor Mark Girolami, Chair in Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London and the leader of the program.
“It is a powerful embodiment of what data-centric engineering can deliver as a discipline, and I look forward to seeing the bridge in action from summer next year.”
Amsterdam already has over 1,200 bridges throughout its canals, with some dating as far back as the 17th century, but the city is about to add one more in correspondence with its growing 3D printing industry.
The first 3D printed pedestrian bridge in the world opened to the public on December 14 in Madrid. Led by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in a process that took a year and a half from its conception, the structure crosses a stream in Castilla-La Mancha Park in Alcobendas, Madrid.