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Amsterdam Unveils 3D-Printed Bridge At Old Canal, With Ribbon-Cutting By Robot
By Ell Ko, 16 Jul 2021
Image via MX3D
A fully 3D-printed bridge has found its new home on one of central Amsterdam’s most famous canals, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. The Dutch Queen Maxima pushed a button, enabling a robot arm to cut the ribbon with a pair of scissors, to formally open it in Thursday’s ceremony.
Crafted by designers Joris Laarman Lab and a host of collaborators in conjunction with Dutch tech startup MX3D, the bridge stands proudly over the canal at 40 feet long. It’s made entirely of stainless steel, combining traditional metalwork with the cutting-edge technology provided by MX3D. The company utilized “intelligent software that transforms welding machines into 3D-printing robots,” as stated on lead structural engineer Arup’s website.
“We equip typical industrial robots with purpose-built tools and develop the software to control them,” writes MX3Dof its bridge. “The unique approach allows us to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal.”
Printing began in March 2017, carried out by industrial robots which utilized the developed software. The large parts were printed in separate sections, then assembled together at the end.
The bridge remains in place for the two years scheduled, as the previous monument is renovated. In addition to serving its purpose as, well, a bridge, sensors will be installed onto the structure. Researchers at Imperial College London will then use this information to study how it reacts while being used, according to ABC News. This could then prompt further research into the potential of future 3D printed structures, and the intersection of metalwork and technology.
[via New Scientist, image via MX3D]
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