Tech startup MX3D, specialized in robotic additive manufacturing technology, presented the world’s first 3D printed stainless steel bridge at last week’s Dutch Design Week. The groundbreaking technique opens up opportunities for large-scale application of 3D printed steel in the public realm.
The bridge is the result of a three-year research and development process by MX3D, which is a spin-off of Joris Laarman’s tech innovation lab. Laarman is a Dutch artist and designer well-known for his groundbreaking designs and pioneering technology in a variety of fields. The bridge (12,5 metres long, 6,3 metres wide) was ‘air-drawn’ by a set of six-axis robots using layers of molten steel. This 3D printer was designed by MX3D to allow the creation of organic shapes – in this case the wavy structure of the bridge. This makes the bridge unique as organic shapes are impossible to achieve in the traditional steel industry. In order to make the bridge happen, MX3D worked together closely with partners including Arup, ArcelorMittal, Imperial College London, and The Alan Turing Institute.