Future technology is about to mix with 17th century old architecture as Amsterdam is preparing to add a 3D-printed steel bridge to its 1,200 bridges throughout its canals.
Dutch 3D-printing start-up MX3D has finalized their design plans to install the world’s first 3D-printed fully functional stainless steel bridge over a historic canal in Amsterdam next year.
MX3D’s unique approach to equip typical industrial robots with purpose-built tools and develop the software to control them will allow them to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal. The goal of the Bridge project is to showcase the potential applications of their multi-axis 3D printing technology.  After three years from concept to design, the complete span of the bridge has now been printed and installed at MX3D’s workshop.
Arch Daily reports that “the final round of structural tests is expected to take place this summer.  After the structural integrity has been tested, the final design will be modified and the completion of the bridge will follow only a few months after. MX3D hopes to showcase the potential of their multi-axis 3D printer during the Dutch Design Week, and the first of its kind bridge is planned to be installed into its final location in a canal in Amsterdam sometime in 2019.”
Gizmodo adds, “Safety is a key part of all of these tests and the sensor network that will follow. Given the fact that a 3D-printed bridge like this has never existed, MX3D worked with the city of Amsterdam to establish a unique, new safety standard as well as a testing plan to ensure the bridge’s lasting integrity. The sensor network will enable engineers to monitor and address safety issues with such accuracy that the 3D-printed might well be the safest bridge in the city.”
This new “wave of the future” has arrived and the possibilities stretch beyond a metal bridge. Cities are 3D printing their way to more sustainable futures.  Dubai is aiming to create new regulations that will require every new building to be 25% 3-D printed by 2025.  China has 3D printed a bus stop structure made from recycled materials.  And Austin-based Icon, a 3D printing startup company, is looking at how 3D printing could help solve housing issues that cities are currently facing.