As 3D printing ushers in a new age of manufacturing on nearly every level, from the jewelry maker at home who is able to do a lot more now than just string beads at the dining table to the industrial manufacturer who is able to make new high-quality components on a grand but less expensive scale, we see changes occurring that we never imagined. And for professionals engaged in making prototypes for large-scale projects and client presentations, things have never been better thanks to the precision they are able to achieve in making miniatures to plan for what can be massive projects. Not only that, but they can produce prototypes in a much more self-sustained, independent fashion straight from the desktop, without any waiting for 3D models or miniatures to come back from a third party.
And massive indeed was one of the latest projects used by architects to pull together a 2,000 ton bridge in Poland. This came to fruition thanks to a ZMorph 3D printer. We’ve followed ZMorph for quite some time now as they have as they have opened new 3D printing retail stores around the world, landed new investors, competed in the recent Startup Competition, and added new features for their interchangeable toolheads, including an integrated 3D scanner.
Founded in 2012 with their design of the ZMorph 3D printer created as a modification of the RepRap open source printer project, this Polish manufacture of 3D printing products has a devoted following today. And after the project for building the bridge over Martwa Wisła in Gdańsk, Poland, their fan base has certainly grown stronger.
When Yellow Line Engineering (YLE), a Warsaw-based design and consultancy company founded in 2007 by Piotr Żółtowski, took on a recent and quite fantastic bridge design project, they turned to the team at ZMorph for help in choosing the proper 3D printing prototyping equipment.
Considering they were looking at constructing a structure 120 meters high and 21 meters wide (almost 400 x 70 feet), they had to factor in considerable size, along with challenges in terrain. To be built on a double-track railway from Gdańsk to Pruszcz Gdański, the bridge was to serve as a way to expand the shipping channel and the traffic going through.
With terrain difficulties making it impossible to build the bridge right on the site, they had to refigure their plans, as well as redesign the bridge altogether for both transportation of and modular assembly. The team needed a way to create and edit prototypes easily as they formulated a plan and built the final result. With the ZMorph hybrid 3D printer, they were able to create multiple 3D models to help decide on the best design and course of action, uncovering any chance for mistakes before they were busy building the final product.
Check out this video regarding the project:
“Instead of using more expensive and off-site manufacturing methods, engineers and designers use desktop 3D printers to iterate faster and perfect their projects without the need of outsourcing,” states the team from ZMorph, regarding their latest project. “The Yellow Line Engineering case study shows that despite desktop size, 3D printers like ZMorph are a great solution for large scale projects.”
While there is great evidence regarding transformations that 3D printing is offering to many different sectors, changes to the construction industry have been happening on a smaller scale. This project is a great example of how 3D printing offers all of its benefits in preplanning, allowing for speed and affordability in prototyping, as well as the ability to go back to the drawing board and make changes as needed.
What are your thoughts on the use of 3D printing for this complex project? Discuss in the 3D Printing and Bridges forum thread on 3DPB.com.