A 3D-printed pedestrian bridge appeared in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The bizarrely-shaped structure is 12 meters long and six meters wide. Four robots were at work for six months, building it layer by layer out of stainless steel, a material very unusual for a 3D printer. Sensors built into the bridge, installed by specialists at Imperial College London, will help understand whether the metal is suitable for “printing”, and will monitor the overall condition of the structure.
The structure was opened for public use by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, assisted by a small robot, which cut the red ribbon after Her Majesty pressed a special button. The bridge is expected to last only two years – it was installed to replace its old counterpart, which is currently under reconstruction.
Despite the fact that experts are still arguing about the reliability of printed structures, there are more and more of them in the world. For example, a village in the African country of Malawi recently opened the world’s first school made by 3D-printer. The construction company 14Trees took less than 15 hours to erect it! According to Francois Perrot, the CEO of 14Trees, the company is now designing 3D-printed homes for Kenya and Zimbabwe, reports Zenger News. Similar schools should soon appear in Ethiopia and Madagascar.
In China, local company WinSun “printed” a five-story apartment building using a mixture of fiberglass, steel, cement, hardener, and recycled construction waste. It was all done with a printer six meters high, ten wide, and 40 meters long. And in Dubai on a 3D printer from precast concrete, concrete and rebar “printed” building of the local administration. For this, only the machine itself and only three people were needed. However, the roof and windows were installed by contractors. The local authorities liked the technology so much that by 2030 they want to use it to build up to 25 percent of all new structures.