The 3D Printed Bridge of Amsterdam

In the near future, Amsterdam is looking to add a stunning 3D printed metal bridge to a city landscape renowned for the beauty of its canals and bridges.

Designed by MX3D, the new bridge design will be made using an innovative additive printing technology. Robotic printers will ‘draw’ the steel bridge structure in 3D with specially designed robotic arms that melt metal to 1,500 C, welding the structure together with a drop-by-drop method. The ‘drawing’ of the bridge will be instructed by a computer and the Autodesk software used to model the design.

It is estimated the bridge will span up to 15 meters with no need for scaffolding during the construction phase. The printers will either ‘sit’ on the bridge, printing their own structure as they move, or they will print from barges moored in the canal beneath.

3D printing is everywhere these days so it is certainly no longer a novelty. It is hoped though that this technique will be a step towards a wider use of 3D printing technology on construction sites.

And the decision to explore 3D printed construction with a bridge certainly offers a lovely symbolism. “The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds,” says the bridge’s designer Joris Laarman.

In addition to Autodesk, MX3D have a number of partners including Heijmans, ABB, Air Liquide and Lenovo.

The designers are in talks with Amsterdam City Council and hope the bridge will be completed by mid-2017.

By Els Zijlstra