Dutch Queen Maxima teamed up with a small robot to unveil a steel 3D-printed pedestrian bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district. Maxima pushed a green button that set the robot’s arm in motion to cut a ribbon across the bridge with a pair of scissors.

What

  1. The distinctive flowing lines of the 12-meter (40-foot) bridge were created using a 3D printing technique called wire and arc additive manufacturing that combines robotics with welding.
  2. The bridge showcases the possibilities of the technology. If you want to have a really highly decorated bridge or really aesthetic bridge, suddenly it becomes a good option to print it.
  3. Because it’s not just about making things cheaper and more efficient for us, it’s about giving architects and designers a new tool — a new very cool tool — in which they can rethink the design of their architecture and their designs.
  4. The 6-ton structure will be loaded with sensors that researchers at Imperial College London will use to monitor the bridge in real time and gauge how it reacts to being used by pedestrians.
  5. It will remain in place for two years while the bridge that previously spanned the canal is renovated.

What is 3D Printing?

  1. 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
  2. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced cross-section of the object.
  3. 3D printing is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which is cutting out / hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic with for instance a milling machine.
  4. 3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.