Pedestrians Cross Futuristic 3D-Printed Bridge for the First Time


Back in April, I introduced you to MX3D's futuristic 3D-printed bridge. The company, along with more than 30 global industrial partners, have finally completed the steel deck, finished the structural tests, and finalized the sensor design.

On October 19th, the team at MX3D announced that the 3D printed bridge is now approved and ready for pedestrians. The next day, the bridge was shipped to Dutch Design Week (DDW), which is held in Eindhoven, about 90 minutes south of the team's robot workshop in Amsterdam.

At the event, the team was honored with DDW’s Public Award. The jury said that the bridge is an example of how long-anticipated digital manufacturing could soon impact architecture and the metal industry.

During the show, visitors were invited to walk across the bridge to generate the first data set from the sensing system. The data will be used to build a digital twin model of the bridge that will tap the structure's sensor network to monitor the bridge in real-time.

The bridge was designed to look like two billowing sheets connected by organic curves of steel. It is 12.5 meters (41 feet) long, 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) wide, and it took four robots and six months of printing to complete. The company used about 4,500 kg (9,920 lbs) of steel and 1,100 km (683.5 miles) of wire.

The bridge will soon be shipped back to Amsterdam where it will be installed over one of the city's canals. The structure is a testament to the possibilities of large-scale 3D printing, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you recall, the team's original idea was to have the robots build the bridge in place.

Now that the first bridge has been successfully completed, that idea doesn't seem too far fetched.

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