Amsterdam already has over 1,200 bridges throughout its canals, with some dating as far back as the 17th century, but the city is about to add one more in correspondence with its growing 3D printing industry. Dutch start-up MX3D has partnered with Joris Laarman Lab, Heijmans, Autodesk, and several other supporters, in a collaboration that will create an intricate steel pedestrian bridge made by 3D printers.
To construct the bridge, 6-axis industrial robots will be used, each equipped with 3D printing hardware with the ability to “print metals, plastics, and combinations of materials in virtually any format.” At least two of these 3D printing robots will be used, one beginning on each bank and then meeting in the middle, building the bridge in mid air.
The bridge itself will span across one of Amsterdam’s famous canals near the center of the city, but the exact location has yet to be released.
“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," said Joris Laarman, the designer of the bridge. "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.”
Starting in September 2015, a public visitor center will open with more detailed information on the project and its progress. Learn more about the bridge in MX3D’s video above, and throughout their Youtube channel.