Wonderful Engineering

This 3D Printer Will Soon Print A Bridge Over An Amsterdam Canal

Would you have believed if we told you about a year back that soon 3D printers shall be 3D printing steel bridges? Probably not, however, today we are witnessing this amazing milestone as well. A 3D printer that is capable of printing ‘cables’ of any material in any direction is all set for 3D printing a steel bridge in Amsterdam over a canal.

MX3D is a 3D printing company based in Amsterdam that has come up with an amazing multi-axis robotic 3D printer that can create structures in air. The company is currently planning to create a bridge over a canal in the city.

The company says, “We research and develop groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic technology with which we can 3D print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form. The ultimate test? Printing an intricate, ornate metal bridge for a special location to show what our robots and software, engineers, craftsmen and designers can do.” The bridge shall be designed by designer and artist Joris Laarman who also helped with the development of Material 3D printer – MX3D- Resign and the MX3D-Metal, a robotic 3D printer that combined the MX3D-Resin with a welder so that it is capable of creating fast-setting metal structures.

The same technique shall be used for the printing of the bridge using steel. It works in a simple way, small increments of molten metal are welded to the existing structure resulting in the creation of lines of steel. Eventually, printing multiple lines shall create a strong and complex structure that will span the canal. The printer will also print supports for itself so that it works autonomously.

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.”

The team has finished prepping up the robotic printer that has already undergone successful testing and created a metal sculpture of intersecting lines. The team plans on using two robots working their way towards one another from each bank for the bridge. MX3D has shown off a number of designs as well, however, the final design and location is yet to be finalized and that will be done ‘soon’. Construction will start in September 2015.