Printing a bridge. How did you come up with this idea?
We were at the airport in San Francisco, on our way to a presentation about MX3D, and were brainstorming about what the ultimate poster project would be for showcasing all facets of our technology. We came to the conclusion that a bridge over the old canals of Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city's historic past, in a way which would reveal the best aspects of both worlds.
I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production - it's a 'new form of craftsmanship'. This bridge can show how 3D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials, while enabling unrivalled freedom of design.
How does 3D metal printing actually work?
The underlying principle is very simple. We have connected an advanced welding machine to an industrial robot-arm. In principle, both pieces of equipment are made to perform repetitive actions. But we have now used our own intelligent software to operate these machines so they can print very complex metal shapes which can differ each time.