With their robots that 3D “draw” in steel, MX3D will print a bridge over the water in the center of Amsterdam. The Dutch company researches and develops groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic 3D printing technology.
MX3D can 3D print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form. Much larger and more efficiently than possible until now, using sustainable materials.
Printing an intricate, ornate metal bridge for a special location is the ultimate test for robots and software, engineers, craftsmen and designers. The bridge by designer Joris Laarman will be ready in 2017. The design process using new Autodesk software is a research itself, synchronized with the technical development and taking into account the location. The project is a collaboration between MX3D, software giant Autodesk, construction company Heijmans and many others.
“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. 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”, says the designer behind this project Joris Laarman.
The technology behind the bridge
MX3D equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools and develops software so that the robots print metals, plastics and combinations of materials in virtually any format. From large construction to small part – with this technique MX3D can 3D print strong, complex structures of durable material. The new technique is cost-effective and scalable, more than current 3D printing methods, and offers creative robot production solutions for art, construction and more.
“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the box’ principle. By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique”, says Tim Geurtjens, CTO of MX3D.
MX3D’s engineers, craftsmen and software experts bring together digital technology, robotics and traditional industrial production in the Bridge project; they research the construction site of the future, test and share their knowledge with a Field Lab of TU Delft.
Maurice Conti, Director Strategic Innovation, Autodesk: “The MX3D platform is a potential game changer. Breaking free of the traditional limitations of additive manufacturing – small size prints and poor material performance – this technology opens up possibilities for architectural-scale, relatively low-cost, metal structures that are as complex as the designer’s imagination.”
The MX3D Bridge project would not exist without the support of partners, Autodesk, Heijmans, Air Liquide sponsors, ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo, public partners TU Delft, AMS, Amsterdam City Council.