Back in 2015, when the 3D-printing industry was rapidly expanding, Dutch startup MX3D had an idea. Using new metal printing, the startup planned to give the city of Amsterdam the world's first 3D-printed Bridge.
Now, six years later, MX3D has finally delivered. After years of development, the MX3D bridge has been finally installed in Amsterdam.
Developing MX3D 3D-printed Bridge
Announced in 2015, the MX3D 3D-printed bridge was a massive project for the Dutch startup company. As metal 3D-printing was getting off the ground, something as huge and grandiose as a usable bridge was hard to imagine.
MX3D completed the project at back in 2018. By partnering with a collection of company's, the company managed to use a proprietary robotic welding system to build the intricately detailed bridge.
Furthermore, MX3D went as far as to create a second version of the bridge that would be more advanced. Partnering with a number of other companies, the latest version of the 3D-printed bridge has live data tracking. The bridge's health can constantly be monitored including the amount of strain that's being put on the structure.
By the end of 2018 the project was fully completed and ready to be installed. However, actually getting the bridge installed was a greater challenge than building the structure in the first place.
In an interview with 3DPrint, MX3D CEO Gijs van der Velden explained that the city of Amsterdam wasn't ready. It took two more years for the company to acquire the correct permits to replace the city’s current bridge. Of course, there would also be further setbacks.
Gijs van der Velden explained:
“In November 2020 we finally had a permit, we removed the old bridge, and prepared the site. We prepared to load our bridge to the barge to ship to site, but… again there was a setback, as a city inspector thought it was wise to check the quay wall for internal defects, as Amsterdam had some other old quay walls collapse over the last months. Better safe than sorry they thought. Early April, the tests have been completed. We now wait for the green light. So, placement is ongoing, and hopes are high we can pop champagne this summer.”
At the time of writing, MX3D’s 3D-printed bridge is installed in Amsterdam, but it's not usable yet. Currently, MX3D is testing the bridge's complex series of sensors to make sure that accurate data is being collected. However, the bridge will be ready for the public to use by the end of this month.