I was a little torn about my plans for this week: the Forge team is running a packed Accelerator in Munich, so it would have been great to have spent my week over there. As it happened I ended up coming to the Netherlands, instead, to meet with two incredibly innovative companies, Van Wijnen and MX3D.
Despite missing the Accelerator the timing was actually pretty ideal: it proved possible to spend a day and a half with Van Wijnen at Autodesk’s office in Hoofddorp before coming into the city to join some of my Autodesk colleagues – Alex Tessier, Alec Shuldiner and Tristan Randall – at MX3D for a couple of days as part of a larger meeting.
Some of you may remember Van Wijnen from their AU2017 keynote appearance:
I’m not sure how much of the work we’re doing together is public, so I’ll leave I’m just going to share this tweet by Jelmer Frank Wijnia that describes a little about it:
— Jelmer Frank Wijnia (@jelmerfrank) March 21, 2018
Here’s a photo of Jelmer Frank, Dieter Vermeulen and myself outside the Hoofddorp office:
It was great meeting Jelmer Frank and Leon from Van Wijnen (as well as Dieter from Autodesk). Thanks a lot for the very interesting couple of days!
On to MX3D, who are located in the NDSM Wharf area of Amsterdam. You need to take a ferry across from the central station to get to this funky neighbourhood where MX3D have their workshop space.
MX3D created quite a splash a year or two ago with their plans to 3D print a metal bridge across a canal in Amsterdam using industrial welding robots. It turns out it wasn’t practical to print across a canal in a busy area of Amsterdam (for lots of reasons), so the work was moved to this warehouse on the wharf. While I can’t share full pictures of the bridge for another couple of weeks, here’s a shot of a small section- taken from inside the bridge, in fact – with a burned-out robot in the background that was a recent casualty of the welding effort.
After last night’s initial meeting we headed across to the site of the bridge:
I’ll be in more formal meetings about the bridge for the next couple of days, which I’m expecting to be very interestinng.
Much like Van Wijnen, in their own field, MX3D is thinking very differently about how things can be done, and aren’t afraid to tackle seemingly intractable problems in their desire to make progress (and, as a side-effect, to change their industry forever). It’s really been a privilege to be here working with these two incredible companies!