The advent of 3D printing continues to revolutionize the way we approach the creative process. If being able to draw up and print out your very own paper or plastic molds isn't enough, how about printing your own building? That's what Janjaap Ruijssenaars plans to do for the next two years.
The Dutch architect is setting out on a quest to build a structure resembling a Mobius strip using the relatively new D-Shape printer. He has already enlisted the help of two friends: the mathematician-sculptor Rinus Roelofs and Enrico Dini, the man who invented the D-Shape 3D printer. The Landscape House will appear as "one surface folded in an endless mobius band." Just imagine a building whose floors seamlessly transform into ceiling, along with stairs that spiral you from the lower floor to the upstairs level and back down on the opposite end.
The D-Shape printer finished a proof of concept small-scale sculpture. If this is how the houses will look, I question the price tag. (Source: D-Shape)
How does one actually go about printing an entire building? Using the D-Shape printer, 20-by-30-foot slabs of a concrete-like material will be printed out at 5mm-thick intervals. The D-Shape is essentially a large aluminum structure that uses CAD/CAM software to drive the manufacturing process taking place inside it. The printer uses stereolithography to solidify and join thin layers of sand with the help of an inorganic bonding agent. The result is an exceptional marble-like material with superior traction, compression, and bending strengths that does not require steel reinforcement. It's also 100 percent environmentally friendly.
It is estimated that each building will cost $6 million to print. The first is expected to be completed by 2014, and the backers hope to print at least one Mobius building per country.
Our creative capabilities continue to expand, even more so now that manufacturing techniques using 3D printing are beginning to catch up with the design potential of advanced CAD software. The work of Ruijssenaars and his partners shows how humans are slowly bridging the gap between imagination and ingenuity.
Cadman-LT, are the machines you are talking about CNC or manual. Frankly, if you are making any volume of a part, then more traditional machining will beat out 3D printing any day. While the up front cost of a mold or tool may be high, amortized over many thousands of parts the cost is cheap. If you are prototyping or doing very small production runs of complex parts, 3D printing should be the way to go. In addition, 3D printing can be tied to many CAD systems making prototyping and visualization very cost effective. You should probably get some of both.
Good points, TJ. I would imagine there will be a number of hurdles in getting 3D houses into production. For one, I can't imagine a house built from 3D parts would be cost effective. That may change, though, as the cost of 3D prnting comes down.
Well, this is an impressive project, to say the least. Although I personally think that's quite a lot of money to spend on something that's just to prove that something can be done. But I guess you have to start somewhere! I think it will be a long time before actual buildings that are up to code will be 3D printed, though!
While this may sound cool, 3D printing is VERY slow. It is very good for low volume, complex and one off shapes. Take, for example, concrete forms. To do it the traditional way, you have to make a form, then you pour the concrete and you have your part. The longest part of the process is making the form. If you only have one to do, then maybe you 3D print instead. On the other hand, at 5mm intervals it will take a VERY LONG TIME. It would probably be better to make forms with 3D printing and then just pour the concrete. It would certainly be faster.
No matter how you do it, it would be equivalent in terms of being environmentally friendly. That is not a consequence of 3D printing. Perhaps he should look at the energy used in the printing as oppossed to various ways of making the forms. That 3D printer will be using lots of energy at the 5mm thickness planned. This is a calculation that is often overlooked.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.