3-D Printer Robot To Construct Metal Bridge in Amsterdam

Today in Robot Apocalypse news we go to Amsterdam where a company called MX3D is planning to build an entire bridge over a canal using a 3D printing robot. The robot, which looks like a background prop from a near-future science fiction film can “draw structures in the air” –essentially building the bridge in front of itself as it moves across the canal.

Bridge builders: “Der takin’ er jerbs!”

Among other things Amsterdam is a city known in part for its delightful bridges. Many tourists in the city often stare at the bridges for hours on end lamenting to one another: “Dude. You need to check out that friggin’ bridge.”

That’s a pretty sweet bridge, bro.

No, the bridge is not going to be made out of piles of legal marijuana and the dried tears of red light district sex workers (oh man that got dark). The 3D printing robot called the MX3D Metal is going to build a metal bridge by printing steel.

Molten metal is welded to the metal printed behind it creating lines of steel which are printed multiple times simultaneously and woven together. Most fascinatingly the robot is printing its own support structure as it goes.  

Some sketches by artists creating possible designs for the robot to follow… it continues to follow human intentions and doesn’t take the direction to “build the best bridge” the wrong way and decide to turn the entire planet into one giant bridge as this would be the “best” bridge.  Nobody in Amsterdam will have this thought.

The company’s project website says of the bridge set to be constructed two years from now; “We research and develop groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic technology with which we can 3D-print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form. The ultimate test? Printing an intricate, ornate metal bridge for a special location to show what our robots and software, engineers, craftsmen and designers can do.”

Here you can see the robot constructing a small sculpture that gives an idea of how it will work;

Which brings up the question: would you walk across a 3D robot printed bridge?

Source: CNET

Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney