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.
Ann, I need to look into this, but just thought I'd ask. Let's say I print out a part, but I don't like it and I re-engineer it and want to print it again. Can I melt down the prototype and re-use the material? I bet you can...along with all the scrap that is produced. Just wondering. A lot of factors involved in this.
naperlou, it would be nice to have both. Do all of the prototyping with the printer and when it comes time to mass produce use machines. That is unless all you do are one-offs in which case a printer might be ideal. Having the two is the best of both worlds!
They actually already have a prototye of a full scale house printer that is more cost effective than people to build. The printer takes in liquid concrete from a mixer and pumps it laying it down layer by layer. The same system is also designed to place all the wiring and plumbing conduits. When the printer is done all that is needed is the internal and external cosmetic finishing (optional) and the windows, doors, and roof. Only works for single story buildings right now but it is still under development. The system is capable of printing the entire house in 20 hours.
Good point, Bob from Maine, especially the note on Star Trek. It's amazing how many of the devices used on that show have started to emerge as viable technology. That's why Star Trek was Science Fiction and Star Wars was just a western.
Additive manufacturing presents many outstanding opportunities. Without people to stretch the boundries, we'll never discover the limits of this and other new technologies. I don't think I'd really enjoy trying to climb a mobius strip to the second floor, but I'd love to see one just to say I had. The Star Trek replicator provides some ideas on how this technology may be applied in the future. I wonder how they'd add taste.
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.