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MX3D robots to 3D print steel bridge over Amsterdam canal

By Gary Fennelly

Published 16/06/2015

Dutch R&D firm MX3D is preparing to use robots to 3D print a steel bridge over a canal in Amsterdam using a technique that could revolutionise the future of construction.

The 7.3m-long pedestrian bridge will be built using industrial robots that will begin construction on either bank and build in toward one another.

Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D
Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D

Robots will spit out molten steel one drop at time to form an intricate, ornate structure. Leading the project is Dutch designer Joris Laarman.

Mr Laarman said: "I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in 'the new craft'. This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form.

"The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds."

MX3D's engineers, craftsmen and software experts will bring together digital technology, robotics and traditional industrial production for the project.

Tim Geurtjens, CTO at MX3D said: "What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the 'Printing Outside the box' principle.

"By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique. "

MX3D is collaborating with design software company Autodesk and construction company Heijmans.

The exact location of the bridge will be revealed "soon," MX3D said.

Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D
Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D
MX3D to 3D print a steel bridge in Amsterdam. Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D
Image credit: Joris Laarman for MX3D
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: Joris Laarman Lab/Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D
Image credit: MX3D
Image credit: MX3D
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot
Image credit: MX3D / Adriaan de Groot

Construction is scheduled to begin in September.

MX3D bridge visualisation

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