- After three years in the making, MX3D's 3-D printed, stainless steel bridge is set to be installed in 2019, designboom reported. The bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab, will span Oudezijds Achterburgwal, one of Amsterdam, Netherlands' oldest canals.
- MX3D used in-house designed software and four industrial robots to print the bridge over a six-month period. The span measures 12.5 meters long and 6.3 meters wide and weighs nearly 10,000 pounds.
- The bridge will now undergo testing of its structural integrity prior to installation.
This isn't the Netherlands' first brush with 3-D printing technology. In October, engineers at Eindhoven University of Technology produced the world's first 3-D printed concrete bridge. Intended for cyclists and pedestrians, the 26-foot-long span was printed over a three-month period, resulting in 800 layers of reinforced, pre-stressed concrete material.
Denmark, too, is experimenting with the technology. One month after engineers unveiled the 3-D printed pedestrian bridge, Denmark-based 3-D printing company Printhuset completed Europe's first 3-D printed building. Constructed on-site in Copenhagen, the structure — dubbed Building on Demand — took only 50 hours to print.
Though still in its nascent stages within the construction industry, 3-D printing has made significant strides in recent years. Until earlier this year, the method had been confined to solid materials like concrete and steel. In March, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced that they had figured out how to 3-D print structures with liquid.
As researchers continue to test and perfect the method, 3-D printing stands to disrupt traditional building materials and construction practices. Requiring fewer resources and people to operate, the technology could help ease the industry's skilled labor shortage.
And if momentum behind the method holds at current predictions, 3-D printing could play a "big role" on the jobsite in the future — whether as the ultimate product being manufactured, or as the product manufacturing the on-site tools. According to Magued Eldaief, CEO of BIM hardware-software technology company Prescient, the technology will help aid productivity while diminishing risk for human workers on the jobsite.