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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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