3D printed metal bridge to be built across Amsterdam canal in 2017

'The bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city'

Louis Dore
Tuesday 16 June 2015 21:16 BST

A Dutch design company is planning to 3D-print a steel bridge across the Amsterdam canal.

The company, called MX3D, specialises in using robotics for 3D printing, and has teamed up with designer Joris Laarman to create the bridge.

The plan is to start printing the bridge on-site in the centre of the Dutch capital in 2017.

The delay is reportedly not to do with technology, but with permissions. The company still has to validate, design for, and test the bridge's to-be-disclosed location.

MX3D’s robots will print their own supportive railings in mid-air as they move over the water to construct the archway.

This is unusual, as 3D printing in metal is typically not carried out in open space but in closed machines, where powder is laid on a surface and treated with lasers.

"I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in 'the new craft'," designer Joris Laarman said.

"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."

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