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Thread: Using a 3-D Printer to Make Buildings!!!!

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    Cool Using a 3-D Printer to Make Buildings!!!!

    Including a freakin' moon base!!!!
    Imagine a 3-d printer so large that it can spit out entire buildings made from stone. Sounds science fiction-y, right? But that’s exactly what designer Enrico Dini created with his prototype D-Shape printer. Dini hopes to use the printer to create buildings made of stone and eventually, moon dust.
    Ooooh! I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope he gets enough funding that he can slap one of those puppies on the Moon!

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    Now that's ingenious! Good for him.

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    That's seriously cool, but how durable is it and what would a finished building weigh?

    For a single floor home it might be great, but for a 20 story building?
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    The durability would be tied to how good the glue was. As for the weight of a large building, in theory, it could be made lighter than one of a conventional design, since you could tailor every aspect of the building for the same cost, instead of reducing costs by using standardized materials. Naturally, the first designs won't be significantly lighter than later designs will be, since it will take time to sort it all out and optimize the designs for the new process and materials.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    Including a freakin' moon base!!!!

    Ooooh! I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope he gets enough funding that he can slap one of those puppies on the Moon!

    Looks like stereolithography with cement instead of a resin. That should be doable, but the size of the machine will be a lot larger than the object being built, so making a building this way could be a challenge.

    The result would apparently be a 100% cement building with no re-bar, and it seems with extermal plumbing and electrical wiring. That should be interesting in an earth-quake zone.

    If he is looking for investors, I will pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
    Looks like stereolithography with cement instead of a resin. That should be doable, but the size of the machine will be a lot larger than the object being built, so making a building this way could be a challenge.

    The result would apparently be a 100% cement building with no re-bar, and it seems with extermal plumbing and electrical wiring. That should be interesting in an earth-quake zone.

    If he is looking for investors, I will pass.
    You're making some big assumptions there, based on sketchy information, and thinking that he'll construct buildings in a more or less conventional manner, which is not necessarily the case with later designs using this technology. Don't forget that heavier buildings tend to get tossed about more in quakes than lighter buildings do, so shaving weight from a building should make it better able to withstand quakes, with or without rebar reenforcement. Stereolithography technology is slightly farther along than computers were at the end of the Second World War. If you had told the designers of that first computer that one day we'd all be carrying around devices far more powerful in our shirt pockets and using them for things like email, surfing the web, listening to music, making phone calls, etc., etc. etc., I doubt if many of them would have believed you.

    Stereolithographic technology is only a few decades old, and already they're moving from the simple plastics of the original devices to things like human organs and food, give the tech a few more generations of work and we'll no doubt be as amazed by what it can do as those early computer engineers are with today's technology.

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    I like this technology. Right now it seems limited by the working material, but I think we should be able to print metal and plastic in the near future. I expect to "replicate" a pepperoni pizza by the time I'm 50..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    You're making some big assumptions there, based on sketchy information, and thinking that he'll construct buildings in a more or less conventional manner, which is not necessarily the case with later designs using this technology. Don't forget that heavier buildings tend to get tossed about more in quakes than lighter buildings do, so shaving weight from a building should make it better able to withstand quakes, with or without rebar reenforcement. Stereolithography technology is slightly farther along than computers were at the end of the Second World War. If you had told the designers of that first computer that one day we'd all be carrying around devices far more powerful in our shirt pockets and using them for things like email, surfing the web, listening to music, making phone calls, etc., etc. etc., I doubt if many of them would have believed you.

    Stereolithographic technology is only a few decades old, and already they're moving from the simple plastics of the original devices to things like human organs and food, give the tech a few more generations of work and we'll no doubt be as amazed by what it can do as those early computer engineers are with today's technology.
    All of which is totally irrelevant to what can be done in the near term.

    If you want to count on the technology being something more advanced than what is described and pictured, then go right ahead. But don't confuse technology with speculation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    I expect to "replicate" a pepperoni pizza by the time I'm 50..
    Not gonna happen. For pizzas, the technology is leaning toward hydrators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    I like this technology. Right now it seems limited by the working material, but I think we should be able to print metal and plastic in the near future. I expect to "replicate" a pepperoni pizza by the time I'm 50..
    "Near future"? Here's a sampling of what we can do today:

    Plastic.

    Metal.

    Human tissue.

    Artificial limbs.

    Ceramics.

    Sand molds.

    Glass.

    And, food.

    I expect in the near term that we're going to see "combo" machines which can handle different types of material, and at some point after that, we'll see "universal" machines which can handle anything (save food and human tissue).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    "Near future"? Here's a sampling of what we can do today:



    Human tissue.


    Do you even bother to read what you post ? This link has nothing whatever to do with anything remotely resembling a stereolithography or printing process for human tissue.

    "The process for growing each patientís organ began with a biopsy to get samples of muscle cells and the cells that line the bladder walls. These cells were grown in a culture in the laboratory until there were enough cells to place onto a specially constructed biodegradable mold, or scaffold, shaped like a bladder.
    The cells continued to grow. Then, seven or eight weeks after the biopsy, the engineered bladders were sutured to patientsí original bladders during surgery. The scaffold was designed to degrade as the bladder tissue integrated with the body. Testing showed that the engineered bladders functioned as well as bladders that are repaired with intestine tissue, but with none of the ill effects."

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Not gonna happen. For pizzas, the technology is leaning toward hydrators.
    Hi NeoWatcher. A BTTF reference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    I expect in the near term that we're going to see "combo" machines which can handle different types of material, and at some point after that, we'll see "universal" machines which can handle anything (save food and human tissue).
    Yes, "combo" is what I meant. Why "save food and human tissue"? Too many combinations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
    Do you even bother to read what you post ? This link has nothing whatever to do with anything remotely resembling a stereolithography or printing process for human tissue.
    That was the best one I could find in a quick google flail on the researcher who is doing work in that direction. Here's him speaking at TED conference about printing organs. He discusses other techniques for about the first 10 minutes of the video and then you watch as tissue is loaded into an inkjet printer cartridge and in 40 minutes there's a two chambered heart.

    Someone's managed to do it for human skin, but I can't recall the details to find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    Yes, "combo" is what I meant. Why "save food and human tissue"? Too many combinations?
    No, sanitation issues. You're never going to get a unit completely clean of certain substances, so rather than worrying if you accidentally got cadmium (or some other toxic material) in your heart or dinner, you'd have separate units for those things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
    The result would apparently be a 100% cement building with no re-bar, and it seems with extermal plumbing and electrical wiring.
    That's an errant assumpton - there's little reason that such a building could not be fabricated around rebar, plumbing, and electical.

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    You can't embed the rebar within the printed structure, the mechanism by which the printing occurs precludes such a thing. You could leave a cavity, put rebar in there, then pour concrete etc to complete the structure - but that that point, you're running very close to just building in a traditional way.

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    All very interesting, but though I'm a fan of rapid-prototyping and its derivatives, for a near-term Moonbase a few inflatable domes and connecting tubes snowblowed-over with a few meters of regolith would be far more practical to transport, require less energy to set up, and be much cheaper to produce.
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    This might help in setting up arcologies though... if you can make the super-structures modular, and mass-produce each module with these kinds of giant printers.

    Personally I love the concept of 3D printing, that combined with micro-robotics and trained microbes, comes to what could be considered the closest we will ever see of the Star Trek replicator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    You can't embed the rebar within the printed structure, the mechanism by which the printing occurs precludes such a thing.
    While you can't do it with the current printer, you can do it with the technology used by the printer. You'd simply have to redesign the applicator to allow it to fix the material around pre-standing rebar, conduit, and pipes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    While you can't do it with the current printer, you can do it with the technology used by the printer. You'd simply have to redesign the applicator to allow it to fix the material around pre-standing rebar, conduit, and pipes.
    But why?
    Now you have a framework that's already the shape you want, which also used a lot of labor. At that point you might as well just put a form around it and pour.
    Otherwise, you just developed an applicator for a new material.

    That seems to defeat the whole purpose of the printer which is to limit the construction labor and have flexible designs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    and then you watch as tissue is loaded into an inkjet printer cartridge and in 40 minutes there's a two chambered heart..
    A functioning pumping heart? or a heart shaped lump of ground meat?
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    A functioning pumping heart? or a heart shaped lump of ground meat?
    It takes a little tweaking (he doesn't go into the specifics as to what they do), but its a functioning heart. Human veins have just been printed.
    3D Printing technology has recently leapt into a new realm — we’ve seen printers that can create entire buildings out of stone, delicious meals out of simple ingredients, and now — perhaps weirdest and coolest of them all — a printer that can build body parts from cells! Scientists working on the Organovo NovoGen printer recently created the first “printed” human vein. This technology could replace other toxic and carbon-heavy medicinal practices like using artificial parts in the human body.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    But why?
    Because this post contained the errant assumption that all the internals would have to be externals.

    Now you have a framework that's already the shape you want, which also used a lot of labor.
    This, too, is an errant assumption. A minor modification of the 2D printer to include some 3D aspects would all the printer to perform all the work the same way it does in it's current 2D form, while allowing the incorporation of internal structures.

    At that point you might as well just put a form around it and pour.
    (sigh) No.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    This, too, is an errant assumption. A minor modification of the 2D printer to include some 3D aspects would all the printer to perform all the work the same way it does in it's current 2D form, while allowing the incorporation of internal structures.
    Maybe you are envisioning something that I can't. So please explain or expand on what that concept is.
    How can this thing move around pipes, rebar, wiring and the like?
    How are those items placed in the construction?

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    I was under the impression that you can print a heterogeneous structure. You need to (a) print layer by layer and (b) have a printer that can print with different materials. Sort of like a 3D MRI scan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    I was under the impression that you can print a heterogeneous structure. You need to (a) print layer by layer and (b) have a printer that can print with different materials. Sort of like a 3D MRI scan.
    In some limited ways. It's really the glue that holds the structure. The sand, rocks, moon dust or whatever they use is only an aggregate.
    Rebar needs to be through the layers for strength and not built among the layers.
    Pipes might work though.

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    If they were using EBF3, then the rebar could be strong enough even though it was built in layers. But then, if they were using EBF3 then they wouldn't need rebar--the entire structure would be solid metal (or some sort of glass/basalt "rock" if using lunar regolith for feedstock).

    Of course, I don't see EBF3 being a plausible way to make buildings here on Earth...pesky atmosphere...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    In some limited ways. It's really the glue that holds the structure. The sand, rocks, moon dust or whatever they use is only an aggregate.
    Rebar needs to be through the layers for strength and not built among the layers.
    Pipes might work though.
    I see, I think. In order to work with metals, the printer needs to be able to weld? Perhaps an attached welding tool would work.

    ETA: IsaacKuo Just looked up EBF3. Neat!

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    If the printer can handle the heat, why not melt the material together instead of using "glue"?

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