The ornate metal structure, which will span a canal in the Dutch city, will be printed in-situ by robotic arms. The location of the bridge will be announced soon and completion is set for 2017.
The versatile six-axis robots – which are able to rotate their arms along six different planes of movement – will print a load-bearing structure that will support their own weight as they work.
This will allow them to start on one bank of the canal and work their way across to the other side, printing steel as they go.
“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,” said Laarman. “The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds.”
The project has been developed by MX3D, a technology startup launched by Joris Laarman Lab to investigate ways of printing large, sophisticated structures.
It builds on technology developed by Laarman that allows industrial robots to “draw” metal structures in the air. This potentially allows far larger structures to be printed than are currently possible, and means the technology can start to move out of the factory and onto the construction site.