3D printed steel bridge set for Amsterdam

Dutch construction company Heijmans announced today that it will collaborate on the 3D printing of a steel bridge in the centre of Amsterdam.

This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects– Joris Laarman, Designer

The project was initiated by Dutch start-up MX3D, which equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools and develops software so that the robots print metals, plastics and combinations of materials. 

The bridge (artist’s impression above) was designed by Dutch designer Joris Laarman, and Heijmans will contribute its knowledge of construction and technology to print the bridge.

"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," said Laarman. 

"The underlying principle is very simple," he added. "We have connected an advanced welding machine to an industrial robot-arm. In principle, both pieces of equipment are made to perform repetitive actions. But we have now used our own intelligent software to operate these machines so they can print very complex metal shapes which can differ each time."

A multi-axis industrial robot at Dutch start-up, MX3D (MX3D)

The MX3D Bridge project will be supported by Autodesk, sponsors Air Liquide, ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo and public partners TU Delft, AMS, Amsterdam City Council.

MX3D says it can 3D print strong, complex structures of durable material, and that the new technique is more cost-effective and scalable than current 3D printing methods.

From September 2015 a visitor centre opens for the public, where the progress of the project can be followed. 

MX3D and the City of Amsterdam will announce the exact location of the bridge soon.

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