Dutch R&D startup MX3D announced plans this month to 3D print a functional steel bridge over an Amsterdam canal using two robots. Construction is slated for 2017.
Founded by Joris Laarman, a Dutch designer who uses 3D printing to create furniture and art, the MX3D has developed an additive manufacturing method that can be used to print metal and resins in mid-air without temporary scaffoldings or support structures. Additive manufacturing is nothing new, but what is novel is MX3D's use of dexterous multi-axis industrial robots that can guide themselves while they work. In 2014, the company equipped a single-arm, six-degree-of-freedom bot from ABB with an advanced welding machine and developed software to control it. The result is a novel system that's capable of creating strong, complex structures in virtually any size or shape.