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Producing the world’s first 3D-printed bridge with robots “is just the beginning” – Dezeen

by • January 12, 2016 • No Comments

Future Makers: the technology which startup MX3D is developing to 3D print a bridge in Amsterdam may be utilized to produce “endless” exception structures, says Dutch designer Joris Laarman in this exclusive film.
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
MX3D is a new research and development company co-founded by Laarman and Tim Geurtjens, which plans to use robots to produce the world’s initial functional 3D-printed steel bridge over an Amsterdam canal by 2017.
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
“The basics of the technology is pretty simple,” Laarman explains in the film, which was filmed at MX3D’s workshop in Amsterdam. “We’re using an industrial robot which is usually utilized in assembly lines in the car industry. We have combined this with a welding machine and our own software to have it 3D print in metal.”
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
The six-axis robots which MX3D are adapting are able-bodied to rotate their arms along six exception planes of movement. They build up structures by depositing tiny quantities of steel in layers.
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
Unlike traditional 3D printing equipment, robots can produce much larger structures by moving across them as they print.
“You’re not limited by dimensions, so we can theoretically print endlessly big,” Laarman says.
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
The steel footbridge will span eight metres. MX3D originally meant to print the bridge in situ, but had to desert which plan over health and safety concerns. Laarman and his team will now reconstruct a section of the canal in their workshop to demonstrate which it may be done on site.
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
The bridge will be printed in one piece, with the robots printing a load-bearing structure to assist their own mass as they work.

Related story:Joris Laarman’s canal bridge in Amsterdam may take 3D printing “to a higher level”
“The bridge is going to be fairly tiny – it’s a pedestrian bridge,” Laarman says. “It’s yet a enormous challenge, for the reason we want to print it in one go. We want the robots to print their own assist structure as they move over the water.”
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
Laarman says which key to the project lies in the development of the software, which will allow the robots to be programmed to create a variety of exception structures.
“A robot normally does the same movement over and over again,” he explains. “But with smart software we can create it do much extra
\ complex movements.”
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
MX3D will be able-bodied to use the code they are developing for the bridge to build most other structures, he explains.
“The bridge is quite much a learning system for us. We are attempting to test all the facets of the technology to develop the software,” Laarman says.
“In the end this will result in a quite big library of algorithms and scripts, which in the future we can use for all kinds of geometries. After the bridge is done I’m certain we can move into most extra
\ directions.”
3D-printed bridge by MX3D
Laarman is convinced which robots and 3D-printing techniques will be utilized extra
\ and extra
\ by the construction industry.
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“Robots will be quite important for construction in the future,” he says. “It’s simply a much extra
\ adaptive way of producing things.”
“We can print millions exception types of objects with one machine. This is what we’re able-bodied to do right now and it’s simply the beginning.”
Joris Laarman
This film was filmed by Dezeen in Amsterdam. Images and extra
footage utilized in the film are courtesy of MX3D.
Future Makers is a collaboration between Dezeen and Autodesk exploring how designers are harnessing new digital tools and advanced manufacturing technology to pioneer the future of making things. You can watch all the films in the series as we publish them on our YouTube playlist:





Related story: Automata aims to “democratise robotics” with $3,000 six-axis robotAutomata aims to "democratise robotics" with $3,000 six-axis robot

Future Makers: in this film filmed by Dezeen in London, Suryansh Chandra claims the inexpensive
-bodied robotic arm his company Automata is developing may lead to robots becoming as ubiquitous as desktop 3D printing equipment. More »

Related film: Using desktop algorithms in design is like “sculpting with a new material”

Alessandro Zomparelli of Italian design studio MHOX, which creates customised 3D-printed fashion accessories, says designing with desktop algorithms is like exploring a new material. Larger version + story »

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Categories: ArchitectureFuture MakersMoviesTechnology Tags: 3D printingAmsterdamArchitecture filmsBridgesDezeen filmsInfrastructureJoris LaarmanNetherlandsRobotsTechology films


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