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Printing a Bridge to the 23rd Century

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Wow:

In two years, a one-of-a-kind construction project will commence over a canal in Amsterdam. It wont involve any humans at all, but rather, a six-axis robot that can craft molten metal in mid-air. Two months later, a 24 foot-long steel pedestrian bridge will arc its way across the water.

That, at least, is the plan. Leading the ambitious project is Dutch designer Joris Laarman, whose R&D company MX3D has spent the last several years reimagining what 3D printing can be—by scrapping the printer bed bit entirely. Instead, multi-axis MX3D bots can doodle drops of metal or plastic in horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes.

Creating rail supports as it goes, the metal-printing bot will gradually slide forward, literally building a bridge as it crosses the canal.

Watch the video to get a feel for how these metal-printing bots do their thing — it’s nothing short of dazzling.