The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge – if it’s imaginable, it’s possible!
It’s official. We are now living in the future. And 3D printing is now more amazing than we ever thought it would be. At our sister conference MobileTechCon in Germany, Tim Geurtjens of MX3D presented the first 3D-printed steel bridge in the world. Mind: blown.
Lower material prices and endless application scenarios – 3D printing is now so far beyond the horizon of private hobbyists and artist. With 3D-printed organs no longer a rarity, the manufacturing technique is now an everyday occurrence in various scenarios, from medicine to housing, and now bridge engineering.
At the 2015 MobileTech / Internet of Things Conference in Berlin, Tim Geurtjens, co-founder of MX3D and Joris Laarman, CTO at the Laboratory for Experimental Design, presented the “MX3D Bridge Project“. The aim of the project was to build a steel bridge over a canal in Amsterdam with the help of 3D-printed robots.
We live in an exciting time. The New Industrial Revolution is in full swing. Everyone can tap into an endless stream of information and we have access to a wide spectrum of high-tech production methods and novel materials. 3D-printing has become a magic word. If it’s imaginable, it’s possible. – Tim Geurtjens
In the keynote below, Geurtjens explains how the idea of a 3D printed bridge was created and how it was implemented. The pressure-robot placed welding spot after welding spot to ‘draws’ a line through the air. The bridge structure is calculated with Autodesk to optimise the steel structure for stability and a lightweight design.
“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods,” Geurtjens explains in his keynote “is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the box’ principle. By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique.”
The project leader also describes the problems and challenges facing the team, and describes how this very frustration can become a means of development.