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3D printing is one technology that may come to define the century. It’s advanced so much in the last decade that from civil engineering to architecture to the culinary arts, there seems to be no end to its potential. And now this robot is going to 3D print a bridge across an Amsterdam Canal.
A company called MX3D is conducting this exercise in innovation and this one of a kind bridge (at least to my knowledge) will probably set some kind of benchmark or standard for excellence. The bridge will be made of steel and it’s construction is set to begin in 2017 with the location being announced shortly. The automatic robot printing this bridge will start from one side of the canal and go to the other, “printing” the bridge and its own support simultaneously.
Its six axis arms will allow it to continuously print different sections of the bridge, saving a lot of time. Designer Joris Laarman considers this project as a meeting of the old city and new technology.
“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 exercise is a departure from conventional 3D printing as the bridge isn’t coming out all in one go from a box. The robot is printing the bridge as it goes along. Of course this process required going back to the drawing board a few times. The robot began as a worm like blob and one test run ended in a welding machine exploding, some nozzles getting stuck and the robot being destroyed.
But all that is in the past. MX3D promises a show unlike the world has ever seen and it may revolutionize civil engineering, that is, if 3D printing hasn’t already.