Jul 19, 2017 | By Benedict

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Shanghai’s Tongji University has unveiled China's first 3D printed pedestrian bridges. The two bridges are made of plastic, and measure four meters and 11 meters, respectively.

Although most 3D printers aren’t especially compatible with rivers, 3D printed bridges have been making something of a splash in recent times. Following 3D printed overpasses in Spain and the Netherlands, China has now joined the ranks of countries with 3D printed bridges.

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Shanghai’s Tongji University can claim responsibility for these plastic 3D printed marvels, which were erected near the entrance to the School.

One bridge measures 11 meters from one side to the other, and stretches over a small stream and a bushy garden area; another, smaller bridge measures four meters across and covers the water only. The larger bridge has steps, while the smaller bridge is flat.

The 3D printed pieces are part of the university’s “Shanghai Digital Future” series, which aims to demonstrate future technologies in architecture, urban planning, and other areas. Robots, drones, and milling machines have also been used to produce pieces for the event.

To create the 3D printed pedestrian bridges, Tongji University staff used robots and a “custom 3D printing module,” eventually completing two bridges in order to verify the reliability (and repeatability) of the process.

A total printing time of 360 hours was required for the massive project, after which every component of the 3D printed bridges was brought outdoors for assembly near the university entrance. Putting everything together took approximately one day.

Before any of our Shanghai-based readers get too excited, we should note that the 3D printed bridges are apparently only for display, and pedestrians are not (yet) allowed to walk across them. We’re not sure if that’s because the university hasn’t properly gauged the strength of the structures, of it it just wants to keep them clean, but you have been warned.

The Shanghai Digital Future series will continue until September 30. The exhibition will explore applications of industry 4.0 technology, with a focus on architecture, civil engineering, education, mechanics, computer science, and materials science.

A bio-inspired 3D printed dress, designed to interact with the body’s muscle movement, is also on display at the university. The dress is made from nylon and was printed on an SLS 3D printer.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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