The MX3D Bridge is a fully functional 3D printed bridge made in stainless steel. The bridge was unveiled in July 2021 by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, Máxima. It is built across one of the oldest and most famous canals in the center of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwa, and is now open to the public.
The project was first announced in October 2015 about this collaboration between Autodesk and local startup MX3D to create a 3D printed steel bridge at the center of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The MX3D steel bridge project was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and in collaboration with industry leaders including ABB, Air Liquide, ArcelorMittal, Autodesk, AMS Institute and Lenovo.
|At the airport in San Francisco, on our way to discuss with our first main sponsor Autodesk their involvement in MX3D, we brainstormed about what the ultimate poster project would be for showcasing all of the facets of our technology. |
We reached the conclusion that a bridge over one of the old canals in Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the beautiful city’s past in a way that would reveal the best aspects of both worlds. It would look like it defies gravity; layer by layer we deposite metal that solidifies until the bridge is ready. The bridge project would, to a large extent, be a learning process; we don’t know how long it will take, but we are certain we can develop the software and hardware to make this project happen.
In any case, it will be a great adventure and we are bound to discover new techniques. Autodesk, too, was thrilled to come aboard, and the project was born.
The specifications of the bridge are as follows:
- Size: 12m long x 6.3m wide
- Material: Stainless steel
- Material Used: 6,000kg
- Capacity: 19.5 tonnes
Imperial College tested the bridge with a 20 tonnes load test.
The team that constructed the bridge comprises:
|We equip typical industrial robots with purpose-built tools and develop the software to control them. The unique approach allows us to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal. The goal of the MX3D Bridge project is to showcase the potential applications of our multi-axis 3D printing technology. |
The MX3D is a massive project involving 3D-printing in steel, and involves the expertise of many teams. The cost of such projects are huge, and are meant to be a technology showcase at the present time. The alternative, traditional method of producing such a stainless steel bridge with curvature design, could be equally expensive and time consuming.
There are many smaller 3D-printed steel projects such as the Urwahn Waldwiesel E-Bike that are also award winners, and at a much lower cost.