World’s first 3D printed steel bridge opens to public in Amsterdam

Would you walk across a 3D steel printed bridge? You’ve probably seen 3D movies and paintings, but would you walk across a 3D steel printed bridge? The world’s first, constructed to endure considerable foot traffic, was placed in Amsterdam.


According to a press statement, Imperial College London developed the bridge, which is accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and it took more than four years to build. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands opened the bridge to the public.

The nearly-40-foot structure weighs 4.9 tonnes and will be closely monitored using sensors that have been placed. According to the press release, the creators will monitor the bridge’s structural condition as well as public interaction.

The data acquired by the sensors will be converted to a digital representation of the bridge that will look and function like the real thing. This allows creators to compare the performance of the physical and digital bridges.

The Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District was crossed by the bridge on July 15.

“There has never been a large, strong 3D-printed metal structure capable of supporting foot traffic. In a statement, Imperial co-contributor professor Leroy Gardner of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering remarked, “It’s great to see it now available to the public.”

The bridge was printed over six months utilizing four industrial robots. According to the statement, robots utilized welding torches to cement each printed layer of the bridge, which was managed by the Dutch business MX3D.

According to the statement, the Imperial College’s Steel Structures Research Group conducted destructive force testing on printed elements, real-world testing on the walkway, and research on the construction of an advanced sensor network to bring the bridge from an idea to a pathway.

“3D printing opens up a world of possibilities for the building sector, allowing for far more flexibility in terms of material qualities and geometries,” Gardner explained.”However, this autonomy is accompanied by a set of obstacles that will compel structural engineers to conceive in new ways.”

World’s first 3D printed Bridge – Getting involved in the community

The project has collaborated with the BRIDE (BRIdging Data in the Built Environment) project at the University of Twente to use the bridge, its architecture, and instrumentation to learn more about how the city’s population interacts with it.

As a result, designers, technologists, and residents will be more informed on how to use rapid urban manufacturing and IoT technology to build urban spaces.

The research will examine how smart technologies such as those used to build and monitor the bridge could contribute to designing ‘cityness’ by establishing an understanding of the interactions between people, place, activity, and technology that contribute to a sense of ‘city ness.’ In the end, the goal is to give the community a sense of ownership over the public place.

World’s first 3D printed Bridge – The ‘mini bridge

A smaller-scale model of the 3D printed bridge, complete with sensor network and digital twin, has also been constructed by researchers. This ‘mini-bridge’ can be used as a demonstrator in public situations to demonstrate how a digital twin works.

World’s first 3D printed Bridge – Project Aims

  • Because of the enhanced information gathered from this project’s statistical approaches, engineers and designers working on the bridge and future 3D printed steel structures will have a better understanding of how such structures may and will function.

  • The project aims to illustrate how a data-centric approach to infrastructure design and construction, along with continual monitoring, may richly inform engineering processes, develop new methodologies, and improve long-term safety through a multidisciplinary and collaborative effort.
  • The revolutionary statistical procedures used to test the advanced materials used to build the bridge aim to help set new standards for a new form of infrastructure made of new materials. This has the potential to allow for new ways of working in the construction industry.

  • The project will inform future urban infrastructure development by acquiring a better knowledge of how a community interacts with smart technologies and innovative building by integrating a team of social science academics.

The world’s first 3D printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam, Netherlands. While the structure is impressive in and of itself, it will also serve as a living laboratory for scholars to investigate how larger, more complex architectural projects can be accomplished in the future.

Additive manufacturing, often known as 3D printing, has the potential to democratize the production of a wide range of things, including food, medical supplies, and even huge coral reefs.3D printing equipment may one day be seen in homes, businesses, disaster zones, and perhaps outer space.

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