World’s First 3D Printed Bridge Officially Opens

photo credit: IAAC

photo credit: IAAC

3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.

Designed by The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catolina (IAAC), the world’s first 3D printed pedestrian bridge was unveiled in Alcobendas, Madrid in December of last year.  The bridge measures over 39 feet (12m) long and 5.7 feet (1.75m) wide and was constructed out of micro-reinforced concrete. According to ArchDaily, it took around 18 months from the time of conception to fully complete and install the bridge. 

world's first 3D printed bridge

The team also faced a major design challenge, as the maximum dimensions the 3D printer could print are 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet (2m by 2m by 2m), IAAC academic director Areti Markopoulou told ArchDaily en Espanol. For the green building enthusiasts, the printing process allowed the re-distribution of raw materials, so there was minimal waste.

The announcement of this new bridge left us curious about the developments of another 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam.  In October of 2015, MX3D, a 3D printing firm in the Netherlands held their ribbon cutting ceremony for what was supposed to be the world’s first. Since that announcement, their website has yet to be updated and it’s unclear when it will be completed.