A Dutch 3D printing company called MX3D, which has developed robots that can print plastic and metal in various shapes, is planning to build a bridge in Amsterdam using multi-axis robotic 3D printers.
"This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form," MX3D designer Joris Laarman said.
The MX3D-Metal is different from 3D printers that are confined in a box. It has industrial robotic arms with six points of articulation which can be programmed to weld any shape in space.
"We research and develop groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic technology with which we can 3D-print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form," MX3D wrote on its website. "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."
The University of Delft developed a new composite for the robot that's as strong as steel and can be extruded in drops by a 3D printer nozzle, according to Fast Company.
Laarman said that the bridge will only take about two months to be built and be completed by 2017.
Jordan Brandt, Autodesk's in-house futurist, said robots that can, in spider-like fashion, build three-dimensional objects on their own could inspire the next industrial revolution, reported Quartz. Autodesk is a sponsor of the bridge project.
The location for the bridge has not been determined yet. The project is set to begin.