A research team within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently 3-D printed full-scale concrete walls in an effort to create quick-to-assemble barracks for field housing, according to Engineering News Record. The project, named Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES), aims to engineer structurally efficient and safe concrete barracks with precast roofs and 3-D-printed walls. In their latest tests, they were able to produce 9.5-foot-tall reinforced concrete walls for 32-foot by 16-foot barracks, made from about 25 cubic yards of concrete. The next phase of the testing will tackle printing concrete roof beams. Backed by the U.S. Marine Corps, Caterpillar Inc., NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Kennedy Space Center, ACES is pushing the boundaries of military on-site construction using as little money and manpower as possible. The project has undergone two years of testing with structural engineering experts from the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who had previous experience working in 3-D printing through a project with the U.S. Department of Energy. After several iterations, the group concluded that construction time on such structures could shrink to a single day as opposed to five days, the average amount of time it takes to build wood-framed barracks. Printing concrete barracks would also eliminate the need to ship construction materials for conventional barracks by instead using local concrete from wherever the build-out would occur. For this prototype, ACES spent $6,000 and in addition, found out that it would take just three trained crew members per shift for three continuous printing sessions to build the barracks. Though exhausting, the process is even less labor intensive than basic barrack construction. While 3-D-printed building technology is looking more viable every day, it's not perfect yet. According to ENR, SOM said that pre-testing the performance of the concrete is imperative and that the printing process must not be interrupted to ensure overall structural efficiency. Cracks from shrinkage can occur on long, straight walls as well, so ACES employed a chevron design that undulates, changing direction every two feet. ACES will do further testing over the next month to refine the technology and the construction process. They expect to be done with the project's precast concrete roof in September and will then issue a report with design guidelines. During 2019, the group hopes to build four or five pilot machines for Marine Corps units to use in the field for additional evaluation.
Posts tagged with "3D-Printed Architecture":
On May 17, 2018, BSA Space will premier NatureStructure, a global overview showcasing more than 30 architectural and design projects that work in harmony with nature to heal and restore ecosystems and make cities more resilient and sustainable. Curated by Scott Burnham, the creator of Reprogramming the City, with exhibition design and curatorial assistance by Samantha Altieri, NatureStructure will feature a vast array of international projects that weave built projects with nature and natural functions to enable cities and regions to function as living systems. The works on display include the US premiere of the Delfland Sand Motor, a feat of engineering that uses coastal tides to distribute sand along the coast of the Netherlands to reverse erosion and protect against sea level rise; Pop-Up, a revolutionary parking garage by Denmark’s Third Nature that rises in the city scape as its base absorbs rainwater overflow; and 3D printed reefs and seawalls by Australia’s Reef Design Lab to repopulate Sydney Harbor sea life and counter the depletion of reefs in the world’s oceans.
The 3-D-printed Cabin of Curiosities is a research endeavor and "proof of concept" investigation into the architectural possibilities of upcycling and custom 3-D-printed claddings as a response to 21st-century housing needs. This exploratory project is an output of Bay Area-based additive manufacturing startup Emerging Objects, founded by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, who are professors at the University of California Berkeley and San Jose State University, respectively. They also co-founded the architecture studio Rael San Fratello, whose work primarily focuses on architecture as a cultural endeavor. The Cabin of Curiosities is exemplary of Emerging Objects’ work, which dives deep into the material science of additive manufacturing while utilizing open-source tools and standard off-the-shelf printers. Due to a housing emergency in the Bay Area, the Oakland City Council eased restrictions on the construction of secondary housing units, or backyard cottages. The new rules promote more rental housing by easing parking requirements, allowing homeowners to transform existing backyard buildings like sheds and garages into living spaces, and relaxing height and setback requirements. Thusly located in a residential backyard, the one-room gabled structure brings together a collection of performative tile products, from interior translucent glowing wall assemblies to exterior rain screens composed of integrated succulent planters and textural "shingles" that push the boundaries of how quickly one can mass produce 3-D-printed architectural components. Over 4,500 3-D-printed ceramic tiles clad the exterior of the building. The firm is committed to focusing on upcycling agricultural and industrial waste products, and at times its custom materials sound more like tasting notes from a nearby Napa or Sonoma wine. Grape skins, salt, cement, and sawdust, among others, have been integrated into Emerging Objects’ products to create variety among the tiles. The project integrates two types of tiles on the exterior: a "planter" tile on the gable ends, and a shingled "seed stitch" tile wrapping the side walls and roof. The planter tiles offer 3-D-printed ceramic shapes that include pockets for vegetation to grow. The seed stitch tiles, borrowing from knitting terminology, are produced through a deliberately rapid printing process that utilizes G-code processing to control each line of clay for a more "handmade" aesthetic. No two tiles are the same, offering unique shadow lines across the facade. The cabin interior features translucent white Chroma Curl wall tiles, made of a bio-based plastic derived from corn. These tiles offer a customized relief texture inspired by the tradition of pressed metal ceilings, which historically relied on mass production through mold-making. It might be too soon to tell, but the 3-D-Printed Cabin might be our generation’s version of Muuratsalo, Alvar Aalto’s classic house circa 1953 experimenting with textured material and architectural form through its construction. "We're building this from our kitchen table, printing parts and testing solutions in real time," said San Fratello. The cabin is a departure from other investigations in 3-D-printed dwellings, many of which are unlivable and not aesthetically considered. “These are not just investigations into testing materials for longevity or for structure, but also a study of aesthetics. We see the future as being elegant, optimistic, and beautiful,” said Rael.
Amelie Klein is a curator at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, and she organized the show Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine, a centerpiece of the Vienna Biennale. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) sat down with Klein to discuss robots and the speculation that comes along with them. The Architect’s Newspaper: What role does speculation play in your new exhibition Hello, Robot., which is on view now as part of the Vienna Biennale? Amelie Klein: Well, it is funny because dealing with robots is inherently dealing with a lot of speculation. But our definition of “robot” is very broad, so it is not always so clear. What is a robot? Architect Carlo Ratti says there are three criteria: A robot must have sensors that gather; intelligence that interprets; and actuators, or tools, that produce a reaction. This is slightly different than what we usually consider to be a robot, which is more about doing something physical or having artificial intelligence. But if we look at the smartphone as a robot, we are not in the speculative; we are talking about the real. However, at the same time, the stuff we see that resembles science fiction robots is built to work for like five days, usually at a fair next to a highly sophisticated technician who will help make it run. So in that regard, it is not really as advanced as we might think. If you look at what is around, it is mostly all super fragile and doesn’t work at all. So robotics today is inherently speculative. But what about design? What role does design play in realizing new futures? Bruce Sterling always says, “Science fiction is never about the future, it is always about the present.” Speculation is looking at the present and taking it one step further. Paola Antonelli once gave a presentation in the mid-’90s about the future of work. She had commissioned a piece to Hella Jongerius, who came up with a bed with a screen built into the piece of furniture. Today, that is ridiculous to think of having [a bed with] a built-in screen, but at the same time we all work in bed. So people are articulating these ideas in a way that corresponds to our own reality today. Since the modernism movement, we have had this fetish of function—as if functionality is what makes design. I don’t think this is a very useful concept for what design can offer. Design practices like Dunne + Raby and Superflux use speculative design to talk about how we deal with our physical environment now. They are asking some very important questions, which has liberated design from this fetish of functionality. Do you see the same level of speculative thinking in architecture? There is certainly speculative thinking, such as Greg Lynn’s work or the Vertical Village. Archigram and Ant Farm were also highly speculative. In general, in the 1970s there were radical architects, but maybe this is not so prevalent anymore. What we have found in our research for this show is really well-researched architecture that isn’t necessarily speculative, it‘s just real—such as parametricism. We had this moment when all these architects came up with a new aesthetic that was born from the digital. But now people are really bored with that and they are looking at what else we can do with that technology. If you look at what Ratti is doing, he says that the medieval city will always look like the medieval city, but we will just use it differently. What is really new is actually invisible. The same is true for design. We might have new gadgets, but it might be more about how we interact with these objects, not how things look. It is interesting. It is almost impossible to build architecture that relates to technology, because it ends up obsolete with a few years and must be retrofit. Achim Menges is dealing with some of these issues at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design and Construction. He is asking, “What does it mean to have larger cities, and how will we deal with having to construct more buildings?” It is less about speculation; it is very much about nuts and bolts in a very architectural way. He is thinking about how we can use architecture like nature uses material. For example, every building is built to carry maximum weight, which is a waste of material. He looks at how we can save material. How much room for innovation is there? So we can speculate about new ways of making? I rarely get excited about a chair, unless it totally rethinks how to make a chair, such as the CurVoxels 3-D Printed Cantilever Chair, which is based on an algorithm that feeds into a robot that prints it in the air. It does for furniture design what Menges is doing for architecture. CurVoxels Design Research Group took the Panton Chair by Vernor Panton and tested a new method [of fabrication] with a very traditional chair. It is like the old analogy of the iron bridge, where it looks like a wooden bridge, even though it’s made of this new material. We are figuring out still what the possibility of these materials is and what that might mean for making and what that might mean for aesthetics. So how can design speculate about the city? One thing that is very fresh and prescient is a project by Dunne & Raby called United Micro Kingdoms, where they reimagined how four communities would live. For example, the digitarians would have a society that was quite authoritarian. It is also kind of neoliberal, as they are obsessed with cost efficiency, etc. It raises issues that we might not be thinking about, like how do we pay for autonomous vehicles? We may not own these self-driving cars—we might have to share and rent them. We have these great visions of the city without congestion and everything is running smoothly, but it likely won’t happen that way. We will probably see something more like what Dunne & Raby came up with, which is very easyJet-like, with bare-bones amenities. If you pay more, it might be luxurious with more privacy and speed. This is how we live today, so why would it change? There is hope. Superflux was invited by one of the Arab Emirates to give a presentation about potential cities of the future. They suggested that cars must be given up, and these oil sheiks, who are filthy rich, said, “Forget it! I am not going to do that, my son is not going to do that!” Superflux anticipated this and, working with scientists and physicists, created a series of air samples that illustrated what the air would smell like if we don’t change our present habits. It worked to convince them. The sheiks didn’t want their sons [sic] to live in air like that. This can be very powerful, if designers look to social progress rather than simply working within the neoliberal or market frameworks. All this technology is being sold as changing the world, but how are Airbnb or Uber changing the world? They are undermining conventions in society that we have worked for centuries to install. They are not saving the world, they are taking us steps backwards, and it is causing disenchantment and disappointment. Critical thinking is all we have to avoid these hyper-efficient futures. The experiments might be inefficient, but we need that and we need speculation to move forward.
Fabricators watch as an artificial hip joint comes together on the tray of a 3D printer. This, doctors say, is the high-tech future of joint replacement. The printer's lone nozzle squirts plastic polymer out into the precise shape. However, in the time it takes to make a new joint, you could watch half a season of The Bachelor, or drive from New York City to eat poutine in Montreal. One company is addressing the time barrier with a new software that enables faster, and much bigger, 3D printing. https://vimeo.com/157523884 Autodesk is creating a 3D printing system, dubbed Project Escher, will be able to create large objects in one pass. Project Escher divides larger designs into smaller instructional packages. The packages are sent to groups of printheads which work in tandem to produce the finished object. This factory-line approach speeds up the often painstakingly slow printing process for large, high-resolution pieces. The customization goes further: Project Escher's printheads are modular, making it easy to swap out different tools. For example, you could swap a printhead with a tool that removes supporting structures while the other five printheads churn out a product. This video shows just how this would happen. Printing large objects could have positive ramifications for architects: facades like this one could be fabricated in one session. Ornate wall-to-wall moldings or whole ceilings could be reproduced without interruption. Currently, larger-scale 3D printing is currently employed by archeologists replicating ancient buildings destroyed by ISIS in the Syrian city of Palmyra. To be clear, Autodesk is not building a new printer, just the software. The printer-savvy can build their own machines to accomodate the software, mere amateurs will have to wait for the hardware to catch up.
Soon, we might have 3D copy machines. Using powerful new technology, MIT's latest 3D printer boasts, according to Russia Today, almost "human-free usability" which allows it to print "ready to use" objects comprising of up to ten different materials. https://youtu.be/poRFPjiB9vw The development is being described by Gizmodo as a "giant leap" towards real-life replication as 3D printers strive for the ultimate goal of being able to produce functioning electronic parts. Already printers are capable of producing electronic circuits, however, MIT's printer named 'MultiFab' (echoing the name of the 'MultiVac' super-computer in Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel, The Last Question) is able to integrate these circuits into actual electronic components. This simplification of the manufacturing process hints at a future where a press of a button will be enough to produce such electronic mechanisms. A 3D scanner is also incorporated into the printer which allows the device to print onto existing components. This could mean that making future modifications to your smartphone, for example, is a very real possibility. Another advantage of this feature is that the printing process can be almost hands free. The scanner works in real time to make sure everything is aligned, telling the printer to make changes if necessary. In a release by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT, the research team has described their printer as, "high-resolution, low-cost, extensible, and modular." Advocating its possible use in education they also said that "students and teachers will be able to create complex mathematical figures, physics sets, lens systems, and anatomical models."
The always-superlative Dubai is set to build the world’s first fully functional 3D-printed office building
What do office buildings and onions have in common? Layers! Dubai is gearing up to 3D-print an entire office building to temporarily house staff of the Museum of the Future. The high-tech structure takes the shape of an elliptical-shaped spectacle engraved with Arabic letters set to open in 2017. Its breathless marketing vaunts the fact that all interior fixtures and furniture will also be 3D-printed. The building will go up layer by layer in “a process much like a baker might ice a cake,” 3D printing company WinSun Global claims on its website. The Shanghai-based firm, a joint venture between Chinese 3D printing technology company WinSun and international investors, is partnering with Dubai to fabricate the 2,000-square-foot building within a number of weeks. While 3D printers have thus far been used to manufacture exterior walls or frames for homes, the technological museum claims that its sci-fi reminiscent, short-term headquarters will be the world’s first fully functioning, 3D-printed building and the most advanced 3D-printed structure ever built. Its exterior will be made of cement and printed concrete treated with special hardeners to ensure each layer can support the next. Reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum will also be used in construction. "This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors," said Mohammed Al Gergawi , UAE Minister Of Cabinet Affairs and The Chairman of UAE National Innovation Committee. "We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come." Experts estimate that courtesy of the advanced technology, construction time can be shaved by 50–70 percent, labor costs by 50–80 percent, and construction waste minimized by 30–60 percent. The project is the Museum of the Future’s first major initiative before it opens in 2017. While there is scant information on the office’s interior design, museum authorities maintain that it represents “the latest thinking in workplace design” based on “in-depth research about the requirements of future work.”
New to the list of job functions up for replacement by technology: bridge construction. Dutch designer Joris Laarman has founded MX3D, a research and development company currently tinkering with a never-before-seen 3D printer that can weld steel objects in mid-air. In 2017, Laarman will deposit the robot on the banks of a canal in Amsterdam and walk away. When he returns two months later, a 24-foot steel bridge will arc over the canal, built utterly without human intervention yet capable of accommodating normal foot traffic for decades. This potentially revolutionizing technology by MX3D and Autodesk can “draw” and fabricate city infrastructure on location, which has radical implications for the construction industry. Far from being makeshift, the finished bridge will feature an intricate design that looks more handcrafted than the detailing on a typical bridge. 3D printing allows for granular control of detail that industrial manufacturing does not, accommodating designs that are more ornate and bespoke than the detailing on most bridges. While 3D printers normally transact in resin or plastic, Laarman’s bridge will be fabricated from a steel composite developed by the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It will be as strong as regular steel but can be dolloped drop by drop by a 3D printer. The unique printer itself has no printer bed. Using additive printing technology, it “works like a train,” according to Fast Company. “Except instead of running along existing tracks it prints out its own as it goes along.” The six-axis robot can move horizontally, vertically and even diagonally, and can hence traverse gaps like a canal or the empty space between walls. “We thought to ourselves: what is the most iconic thing we could print in public that would show off what our technology is capable of?” Laarman told Fast Company. “This being the Netherlands we decided a bridge over an old canal was a pretty good choice. Not only is it good for publicity, but if MX3D can construct a bridge out of thin air, it can construct anything.” Laarman enlisted design and engineering software company Autodesk to help rectify common 3D printing glitches – namely, designing a robot with a real-time feedback loop capable of correcting itself when errors occur. Typically, when a drop of resin is misplaced, the robot has no way of “knowing,” so that all subsequent drops are misplaced and the design is maimed. Given that the robot will build in public, foreseeable errors extend beyond internal mechanical failures. The machine must be primed to withstand temperature fluctuations that cause metal to expand and even “kids hurling beer bottles at the robot.” “Robots tend to assume that the universe is made of absolutes, even though that’s not true,” said Maurice Conti, head of Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab. “So we need to program them to have real-time feedback loops, and adapt in real time without even being told to.” If successful, MX3D’s technology could open up avenues for unprecedented design possibilities and cost efficiency in the fields of construction, architecture, design, and more.
The future of architecture is upon us, and thanks to a team of researchers led by Sasa Jokic and Petr Novikov, construction workers may soon be made obsolete. A team from the Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia (IAAC) is currently tackling the challenge of making “mini-builders”: drones that are capable of applying 3-D printing at a large, architectural scale. While the minibuilder robots are original inventions, the idea of using robots to 3-D print architecture is not a new one, and many, including a team from Gensler Los Angeles, are exploring the usefulness of the technology. The idea dates back to 2008 when Caterpillar began funding Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. These mini-builders are unique because of their relatively tiny size, which makes them easier to mass produce and much more convenient to haul places. Currently there are three robots that have been unveiled to the public by the IAAC team: the foundation robot, the grip robot, and the vacuum robot. The foundation robot is equipped with tracks and a sensor to keep it in position and lays down the base of the structure for the other two robots to work on. Next, the grip robot actually attaches itself to the structure via rollers and is responsible for raising the printed structure vertically. Finally the vacuum robot utilizes suction cups to cling onto the surface of the structure and reinforces the walls. The robots are currently working with concrete as a building material.
A Shanghai building company has erected a small village of pitched-roof, 3-D printed structures—in about a day. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is behind the series of humble buildings, a fully fabricated unit is expected to cost less than $5,000. The homes were created through the use of a 490- by 33- by 20-foot 3-D printer that fabricates the basic components required for assembly. Rather than plastic, the machine behind these structures spits out layer upon layer of concrete made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings. WinSun intends to construct 100 factories that will harness such waste in order to generate their affordable "ink," which is also reinforced with glass fibers. Purists will note that the WinSun productions are not 3-D printed structures in the traditional sense. Rather than projects like these, or the contour crafting processes championed by USC Professor Berokh Khoshnev, the Shanghai homes are not printed on site layer by layer. Instead they are composites of 3-D printed parts that require human intervention in order to be assembled into something resembling a house. WinSun estimates that their methods can cut construction costs in half and sees the potential for "affordable and dignified housing" for the impoverished.
The rise of 3D printing, the design and creation of objects using a material printer, is currently hindered by accessibility. Few own personal printers or know where to go to use one. However, according to Lara Piras of PSFK, commercially viable 3D printing is now a possibility with Netherlands-based 3D Hubs. The online company allows at-home designers to connect with locals who own 3D printers, arrange for payment for the printing of their creations, and then receive their material products, ideally without leaving their community. Co-founders Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret envision their system as a reinstatement of local production, a reaction to current globalization, which they believe paints laborers as “faceless links in a complex and obscure global process.” Their 3D printing hubs allow citizens to design products and then see their production, means and end, face-to-face. After uploading designs to the 3D Hubs website, at-home designers can search for 3D printer owners in their area, arrange for payment to print their designs, and then pick up the finished product a bike ride or short walk away.
It's been over three decades since the 3-D printer was invented, and to be sure, the technology has come a long way. Now, Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars is putting the technology to the ultimate test by proposing to print an enormous Möbius strip house with over 10,700 square foot of house. The Landscape House, as Ruijssenaars named it, will be a two-story structure replicating the natural form of a figure eight by using “one surface folded in an endless Möbius band” he says on his website, intending for the building to effortlessly fit into the natural world. To complete the project Ruijssenaars will call upon designer Rinus Rowlofs and Enrico Dini, the inventor behind the D-Shape, a 3-D printer that will be used to print the Landscape House. It will be printed out in layers from bottom to top in roughly 20 by 30 feet sections. Each thin layer will be comprised of sand and a bonding agent to hold everything together. When the building is fully printed the loose sand will be dusted off to expose a marble-like finish on the final structure. Fiberglass and concrete reinforcements will be added to ensure durability, as 3-D printing on this scale has never been attempted. The team hopes the building will be complete by the end of 2014 with a budget between $5 and $6 million. [Via C-Net.] Check out how Dini created the D-Shape printer in the video below.