We've all seen 3D printers whip up a teacup, statuette, or a functioning handgun, but Amsterdam based startup MX3D has much bigger plans for the fledgling technology.
The startup's group of Dutch designers, roboticists, and engineers have developed their own 3D printing technique which allows for the printing of massive objects using metals and resin. By utilising a multi-axis printing robot with a high degree of spacial freedom, MX3D can create objects far larger and stronger than most other 3D printing methods. They call it 3D printing "out of the box".
And so the team is putting their large-scale printing magic to the test by constructing a beautiful, functional and entirely printed footbridge in the centre of Amsterdam.
The team has already constructed several objects with interweaving structures and is now bringing the same intriguing visual complexity to its plans for the bridge. The preliminary designs, which aren't yet finalised, look semi-organic, relying on hundreds of carefully angled threads.
Dutch designer and artist Joris Laarman is spearheading the project architecture. To say his credentials are impressive would be an understatement: Laarman has contributed permanent installations to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and V&A in London as well as winning the Wall Street Journal Innovator of the Year award in 2011.
MX3D imagines the construction process will involve two robots, each constructing the bridge from solid ground on either side until they meet in the middle. This will put less strain on the bridge and allow the assembly to happen almost entirely autonymously. Bob the Builder - your time has come.
The project will begin construction this year but final designs and an unveil date have yet to be confirmed by MX3D or the city of Amsterdam.