Apr 21, 2016 | By Alec

Until June the 26th, the east of Amsterdam will be absolutely packed with sustainable innovation as Fab City has opened its doors on the Java Island in the Amsterdam Eastern Harbor District. This global project is aimed at developing self-sufficient cities and is hosting 50 pavilions filled with innovative making and recycling technologies. Of course 3D printing cannot be absent at such an event, and therefore Dutch metal 3D printing startup MX3D will be showcasing their revolutionary open-air 3D printing platform at FabCity. Also on display will be a concrete 3D printer developed by 3D printing guru Enrico Dini and operated by construction company BAM.

If sustainable development is your thing, Fab City is one event you cannot miss. The FAB City is a global project to develop locally productive and globally connected self-sufficient cities. The project was launched in 2011 at the FAB7 conference in Lima by the Institut d'Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the Fab Foundation and the Barcelona City Council. Featuring 50 pavilions operated by more than 400 students, professors, artists and creatives in Amsterdam, all are aimed at developing solutions for urban problems. Some solutions are ecological and some are high-tech, but others just rely on simple and accessible materials, such as hemp and cardboard. Among them is the Wikkelhouse (‘Wrapper’ House), an infinitely scalable set of cardboard modules that form cheap and sustainable houses using up to 24 layers of cardboard. A complete Wikkelhouse could cost as little as €70,000 (or about $80,000).

As a technology that produces little to no manufacturing waste, 3D printing could obviously not be absent from such an event. Two Dutch 3D printing initiatives are therefore present at Fab City, of which MX3D might be the most eye-catching. They are the company behind the ambitious plans to build the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge in Amsterdam. That project merely showcases their exciting 3D printing solution: a six axis 3D printing robot that allows for unsupported 3D printing in the open air. Combined with an advanced software setup, it enables the 3D printing of strong, complex structures out of sustainable materials (including metals, resin) in virtually any size or shape.

While the bridge is still work-in-progress, the Dutch engineers behind that impressive MX3D metal 3D printer will also be showcasing various other objects made with their exciting technology. Among them is the Arc Bicycle, which was designed by Delft students and 3D printed with the help of MX3D. Just last week, that 3D printed bike (which weighs as much as any other bike) was also exhibited at the Innovation Expo in Amsterdam. But the sky is the limit with this technology, says Gijs Van Der Velden. “Normal 3D printers have to operate in a building volume like this and we can go meters big. So building a bridge is really a leap from where we are now with the current technique. This is our true innovation,” he explained.

But you can also head over the BAM pavilion, where the company’s Engineering and Technology manager Chris Jonker is showcasing one of the most advanced concrete 3D printers currently available. Developed by Italian concrete pioneer Enrico Dini, it will be in operation using local materials. “We want to experiment with local sand from the river IJ and the North Sea beach,” Jonker says, adding that this type of 3D printer could also reuse debris from demolished local buildings. “This has been done before, but we would like to upscale it.”

European construction company BAM already previously showcased this technology outside their Amsterdam HQ, where they 3D printed a remarkable concrete bench by architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars. While still limited to a range of up to three meters, Jonker does believe this kind of 3D printer will be part of a sustainable construction future. “In Italy, they have another printer which can print stuff measuring ten cubic meters. You could actually print a complete house with it, but as it takes too much time, it is not yet viable. Conventional construction is still cheaper,” he says.

As a large manufacturing tool, the concrete 3D printer will be partly shielded from crowds in the Bam and ABN AMBRO pavillion at FabCity. “It needs to be shielded from the audience, but we will use a transparent kind of curtain, so everyone can observe the process,” Jonker says. Parts for the Landscape House will be 3D printed during the event, a forthcoming sustainable building that will serve as a hub for the local circular economy and is expected to be ready in 2017. If you’re interested in these two 3D printers, the Amsterdam Fab City campus is open to the public until the 26th of June.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Deb Smulski wrote at 5/22/2016 6:20:48 AM:

Would you consider being an Exhibitor for the ACI Convention in Philadelphia this October 2016. The theme is Revolutionary Concrete. An Exhibitor Prospectus is available at http://epdaci.org/convention-2016/exhibitors/

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