The MX3D Bridge has gone through its first testing fase at UT Twente and we have passed! Imperial College has tested the bridge its strenght with a 20 ton load test. We are on to the next fase where UT Twente in collaboration with Autodesk are going to add sensors to the MX3D Bridge to collect usage and material data.
The MX3D bridge is going to be tested at the University of Twente. They will test the Bridge under a 20 ton load. Imperial College London has the lead for the testing which will take approximately one month. After that, the Bridge will stay for another two months at the University’s Campus in Twente to install and test the smart sensor system under the bridge.
Very proud that we are one of the winners of the Dutch Design Award 2018 in the category Design Research!
The jury: “The form and material freedom achieved by Laarman and MX3D hint at almost unimaginable scenarios.”
MX3D Bridge has been awarded the STARTS Prize 2018!
The jury: “This is the beginning of a great urban transformation. There are many large-scale 3D-printing projects happening all round the world but this project has built something that works for people living in a large European city and is leading the way”
The full span of the bridge is finalized!
With close to a third of the bridge printed at the time of writing, we are well on track to be finished printing early 2018. By now, we’ve also mounted a robot directly on the bridge. What a great moment!
After a challenging 18 month-long process of engineering, designing, re-engineering, re-designing, discovering the world behind permits, safety measures, canal wall renovation, re-designing, programming, fundraising, test printing, re-designing and re-programming, the actual printing of the bridge has finally started. We are printing large parts of roughly one metre, which will then be assembled together after they’ve been printed. The initial production pace seems fast enough to finish by early 2018 – exciting times!
After a serious setback, we are back on track at last. In order to reduce complexity we employed an entirely new approach. In November of 2016, Arup joined our rockstar team and we began discussing a sheet-construction approach rather than the previously-attempted one centred around volume optimization. The benefits of the sheet concept were that it works primarily with compression forces using stress analysis software to generate force lines through the object.
A highly detailed 3D scan demonstrated that the bridge heads are not entirely parallel. As a result of this newfound information, we chose to give the bridge an asymmetrical shape, in-plan. This increases the dynamic shape and allows to show that our proprietary technology is not bound by traditional, symmetrical forms. By making the entire bridge design parametric, the design adapts automatically with every design iteration; believe it or not, we can even make changes to the design after the robots start printing!
Today, the modern world of optimisation software and 3D printing clashed with the traditional world of typical construction engineering. The engineering software used to address the various functional and safety requirements could not handle our complex geometry. Additionally, there remained many unknowns yet to be taken into account; amongst other factors, it was unclear how much stress the medieval canal walls could withstand and it also turned out to be near-impossible to define the material properties of the printed geometries. This means we have to start all over again… Basically, we need to reduce complexity and avoid tension stresses as much as possible. Let’s hope we can make this happen quickly!
We have finalised the design at last! The initial design concept was focused on a very pure application of topological optimization; this particular technique was employed extensively early on in Joris Laarman Lab’s pioneering Bone Furniture collection. The software is programmed to reduce the required material to a minimum when generating the most efficient shape for a specific task – just as a bone will optimize itself in nature.
The Bridge design employed Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher software in collaboration with the engineering expertise of Heijmans.
The final location has been set, and it is nothing short of iconic; it is to sit upon the crossing of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal and the Stoofsteeg. In other project-related news, we are proud to add Plymovent and Oerlikon to the team!d ArcelorMittal, ABB Robotics, Lenovo and Air Liquide to our team. And thank you Leap3D for making this scan!
October ‘15 marks the official launch of the Bridge project: our project video had so much worldwide exposure that it managed to attract all the additional connections we needed to make it happen. Now, it’s up to us to show we can make this dream a reality. A big thank you goes out to the City of Amsterdam for becoming an actual customer of this unique bridge. And thank you to Elderwoman Kasja Ollongren and CEO of Heijmans, Bert van der Els, for opening our new workshop. It has been great to add ArcelorMittal, ABB Robotics, Lenovo and Air Liquide to our team!
At the airport in San Francisco, on our way to discuss with our first main sponsor Autodesk their involvement in MX3D, we brainstormed about what the ultimate poster project would be for showcasing all of the facets of our technology. We reached the conclusion that a bridge over one of the old canals in Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the beautiful city’s past in a way that would reveal the best aspects of both worlds.
It would look like it defies gravity; layer by layer we deposite metal that solidifies until the bridge is ready. The bridge project would, to a large extent, be a learning process; we don’t know how long it will take, but we are certain we can develop the software and hardware to make this project happen. In any case, it will be a great adventure and we are bound to discover new techniques. Autodesk, too, was thrilled to come aboard, and the project was born.