Unlike other extra large 3D printed projects that seemed too good to be true, Joris Laarman’s 3D printed steel bridge has been completed, perfectly in line with MX3D’s project timeline. The only thing that was somewhat a letdown, was the idea that the bridge would “build itself on location” as some early animations seem to allude to. However, this is just the beginning. Laarman and the team that worked with him fine-tuned the metal deposition technology to be able to cater to the large size additive production needs of a growing range of industries.
The MX3D product philosophy ensures that the 3D metal printing technique becomes available to a whole new range of industries. The aim is to build a robust machine that is suitable for onsite construction & heavy-duty industrial use outside of a controlled environment. Their software has the flexibility to be adapted to all brands of robots & welding machines; and furthermore, upscaling is made easy by the ability to use off-the-shelf hardware.
This did not happen by chance. By Laarman’s own admission, the project started out with a dream and they had to overcome enormous challenges which drove them in directions that they had not anticipated. In the end, though, the full length of the bridge was printed and it can now be installed. It looks quite stunning as well as functional. Future iterations will be even smoother and more efficient.
The Bridge was designed by Joris Laarman Lab and the following: Arup (the lead structural engineer); ArcelorMittal (who provided the metallurgical expertise); Autodesk (who assisted with their knowledge on digital production tools); Heijmans (the construction expert); Lenovo (who supported with computational hardware); ABB (the robotics specialist); Air Liquide & Oerlikon (who provided information on welding); Plymovent (who protected the air); and lastly AMS and TU Delft (who contributed with invaluable research). Gemeente Amsterdam is the first customer of the collaborative bridge building department.