Amsterdam 3D-Printed Bridge?

Published: June 16, 2015

Amsterdam 3D-Printed Bridge?, Amsterdam-based 3D printing company MX3D has paired with Dutch designer Joris Laarman to construct a 3D bridge that is expected to be completed by 2017.

Using robots that essentially draw in steel, the “intricate, ornate” steel bridge will be printed over a canal in the center of the city; the exact location will be announced “soon” by MX3D and the City of Amsterdam, and the progress will be viewable in a visitor center from September of this year.

The multi-axis industrial robots are to be equipped with 3D printing tools, and software enables them to print in steel; it can also be used for plastics or combinations of materials, and in virtually any format, according to the company.

Lines can be printed to intersect, resulting in a self-supporting structure. The method also means objects can be created on any working surface, regardless of inclination or smoothness, according to Laarman’s website.

MX3D says the resulting structures are strong, complex and durable and the technique is cost-effective and scalable.

Laarman frequently works with up-and-coming technology in his work, which can be found in the permanent collections at New York’s MoMA, London’s V&A, Paris’s Centre Pompidou and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Among the many other partners behind the project are Autodesk, whose new software is being used in the design process, and construction company Heijmans.

The 3D-printed bridge would be a world first, although 3D printing is increasingly being tested out on an architectural scale. Among other projects, UK architecture firm Foster + Partners revealed late last year that it was working on a commercial concrete-printing robot alongside Swedish manufacturer Skansa.


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