Bridge to the future

Early in June, MX3D, a Netherlands-based additive manufacturing firm, announced that robotic machinery it has developed has proven capable of printing 3D bridges. Moreover, the company hopes to use this technology to construct a pedestrian bridge over an Amsterdam canal.

The plan involves using a pair of robots able to place metals and resins in midair. Each robot will begin working on opposite sides of the canal and meet in the middle to connect the spans.

The bridge was designed by Joris Laarman using Autodesk software which, when combined with the building capabilities of MX3D’s additive manufacturing robots, will break new ground in construction.

“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,” Laarman says.

Interested parties will be able to track the MX3D story online on the company’s eponymous website, or by visiting its showroom that is set to open in Amsterdam this September. The exact location of the inaugural MX3D bridge will be determined soon.

Should this endeavour end in scalable success, then the only issue left for bridge developers to tackle is finding a way to 3D print a more efficient environmental review process.