MX3D Bridge

project update

Over the years the work we do in the Lab has become ever more influenced by technology. We are always trying to push the limits of our profession by developing new technology. Our metal printers originated from the desire to be able to print 3-D objects that are larger than the box of a 3-D printer. We wanted to print large-scale objects that could be used effectively. After our first experiments and the Dragon Bench, we were so excited about its potential that we just had to further develop this technology. And it was clear that it would only be able to grow properly if it could stand on its own as an independent company. This led to MX3D, now situated in the historical Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM) ship wharf.

It feels like the discovery of a new continent. A world of new opportunities is in front of us but we can only just see its contours. I can’t wait to start exploring and very much look forward to this journey.

We were at the airport in San Francisco, on our way to our first main sponsor Autodesk for a presentation about our robotic printers, and were brainstorming about what the ultimate poster project would be for showcasing all of the facets of our technology. We came to the conclusion that a bridge over one of the old canals in Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city’s past, in a way that would reveal the best aspects of both worlds.

The bridge design is, to a large extent, a process. It is something that is dependent on many factors, and algorithms will also be used in order to achieve a smart structure that takes the printing process into account, as well as functionality for the user and the environment in which it is placed.

After a challenging 18 month-long process of engineering, designing, re-engineering, re-designing, discovering the world behind permits, safety measures, canal wall renovation, re-designing, programming, fundraising, test printing, re-designing and re-programming, the actual printing of the bridge has finally started!

With close to a third of the bridge printed at the time of writing, we are well on track to be finished printing early 2018.