A Dutch company called MX3D is taking 3D printing technology to a new level altogether. The Amsterdam-based company has developed a 3D printer than can draw structures in the air that will be used to print a steel bridge in the heart of Amsterdam.
Joris Laarman, founder of the company and designer of the said bridge, will use a six-axis robotic 3D printer to print resin and metal in mid-air. The bridge construction using this novel technique is expected to start in the fall season of 2017 and should be complete just within two months.
"We research and develop groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic technology with which we can 3D print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form," stated MX3D. "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."
This will be the first time that a bridge is 3D printed. Building a bridge over a canal is big news for the 3D printing industry as the project will enable more research into the construction of bigger functional objects.
MX3D has already tested and perfected the 3D robotic printer used in creating a sculpture made of intersecting metal lines. The company envisions that the construction of the bridge will be done by two robots that will work jointly on the project, starting from one end and finishing at the other end.
MX3D's latest technology may open the way for radical designs in the construction industry.
Tim Geurtjens, CTO of MX3D, believes that 3D printing a bridge will be a big achievement on its own since it shows the endless capabilities that lie ahead in the 3D printing industry.
The robots will heat raw materials to about 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1,500 degrees Celsius, before welding together the structure. The bridge will be strong and sturdy and will be able to protect itself against the environmental elements.
MX3D will also start a visitor center that will allow interested people to follow the progress of the bridge. The exact location of the bridge is still to be finalized.
Check out a couple of short videos that show how the bridge is expected to be made: