If you've ever been to Amsterdam, there are probably two things you remember (hopefully). The first thing is something you probably don't want to talk about too much in mixed company, for legal reasons. The second? All the classic old world architecture of the bridges throughout the city's huge canal system. If Dutch 3D printing firm MX3D has their way, your next trip won't just be illicit activities and old world charm—you'll have a chance to walk across the first 3D printed bridge in the world.
3D printing itself is a crazy concept, but this project really kicks it up a notch. Typically, the process takes place in an enclosed box, limiting what can be done and where. MX3D, however, operates using an "outside the box" printing method: they have portable printing robots that can go just about anywhere and print just about anything. This bridge will be one of the first examples of a large-scale project using sustainable materials.
Really, this project is about showcasing the new tech and printing method as much as putting a new bridge across a canal. Starting in September, the project will open a visitor center where its progress can be followed—as if Amsterdam needed another slightly crazy one-of-a-kind attraction. The bridge's exact location hasn't been announced yet, but we're betting it won't lead to the Red Light District.
Check out this video to see part of the process in action—and get ready to have all kinds of mobile 3D-printed goodness come into your life.
Brett Williams is an editorial assistant at Supercompressor. When he was in Amsterdam...well, that's all he can say.