WTF ?! It’s a turn of events that appears to have been spat out by a trained neural network in Elon Musk’s tweets and Black Mirror episodes, but on Thursday, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands ceremonially inaugurated a 12m steel bridge ( 40 feet) long in Amsterdam’s red light district. , the first in the world to be 3D printed.
Technically, the Queen did not do the work herself, but instead pressed a green button that caused a robotic arm to cut a ribbon for the opening of the bridge. While that may seem a bit strange in a vacuum, given the bridge’s world first and wire-and-arch robotic additive manufacturing (WAAM, because everyone loves a goofy acronym), it was more symbolic than anything else.
WAAM uses gas-metal arc welding to deposit layers of metal when printing a structure, a process much faster than powder metal construction. The end result, in this case, is a unique design that looks more sculpted than designed, which Tim Geurtjens of manufacturing company MX3D said was a huge advantage in making more exotic designs easier to build.
“If you want to have a very decorated bridge or a really aesthetic bridge, it suddenly becomes a good option to print it,” he told AP. “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 very interesting new tool, in which they can rethink the design of their architecture and their designs. “.
The bridge has also been equipped with sensors, so that researchers from Imperial College London can monitor the structure’s response to being in use and the stress of pedestrians crossing it.
Amsterdam Councilor Micha Mos, however, had higher ambitions for the bridge, hoping that the 6-ton structure could help with the perception of the area and its image. “This may attract a new type of visitor, one who is more interested in architecture and design, which will help change the way the neighborhood is perceived as something you want to visit, but visit with respect for what you have. been in the last decades, “he told AP.
However, if you’re going to do it, you’d better get started fast – the bridge will only be in place for two years while the site’s previous bridge is renovated.