Posting in Architecture
Engineer Enrico Dini has a 3D printer that uses sand and glue to make your CAD drawings into a 3D sand structure. (Video)
My colleague Andrew Nusca wrote about the new HP Designjet 3D printers, which allow users to print out 3D models of their designs right from their desktop computers. Besides the fact that they are amazing, HP has just shipped its first-ever 3D printer to customers.
Italian inventor Enrico Dini thinks bigger than that — he has designed a printer that can print 3D buildings with sand. Through the d_shape building process, sand and an organic binder is used to create huge structures. Unlike HP's printers, Dini's D-shape printer is not ready for the market just yet.
Think about how you build sandcastles when you are at the beach. Basically, that's how the D-shape printer works — but it also uses glue to hold the sand together. The D-shape printer sprays a layer of sand and then glues each layer with a magnesium-based binder that shoots out from hundreds of nozzles.
And the printer continues layering the sand until the desired structure emerges:
- Think of a building and design the structure with CAD software.
- Print the structure and expect a resolution of 25 dpi.
- The building is as strong as marble.
- It can make curves or hollow columns. It can make pretty much any shape you can build a sandcastle. Imagine.
- Dini has future lunar plan to build moon bases using moon dust. The European Space Agency is interested, actually.
- And of course, it is environmentally friendly. The printer leaves behind little waste.
- And even better, it can build a structure four times faster than traditional methods.
While it might be a while before you start building your own structures from your personal 3D printer, it's fun to think about what you might build.
I would build a sand tent. And then build an Einstein structure to accompany it.
I know, that's random.
And to top it off, I don't know what Dini is saying here because the video is in Italian. But it's still interesting to watch anyway:
On a smaller (and more practical) scale, this is how a 3D printer could help people build architectural models:
Apr 20, 2010
Extremely furry UGG boots, a Michael Jackson glove, pants/hosiery/tights under coolots, and a colostomy bag. She's got the look. Btw, the work reminded me of both Gaudi and the Flintstones town of Bedrock. Yes, the technology is amazing.
Essentially Sig.DIni is making the connection between childhood dreams such as he or other children have of building and creating objects out the simplest materials and imaging more than what is there while contrasting this youthful mentality with the use of current technology employed today to turn that youthful desire into a feasible reality. He states he can now create sand structures (with the use of other natural materials) that could used in building low cost dwellings in improvised areas of Africa or east Asia. His main message is not to let go of those childhood fantasies.
A team of UK engineers designed a 3D printer a few years back that uses sugar bonded by heat that works in exactly the same way. A tank containing a platform covered with sugar is 'printed' with a needle-point of hot air that melts the grains together to make a layer. The platform is lowered fractionally and re-covered with sugar for the next, each layer bonding to the previous one. It had around 20DPI but they were improving that with the use of a custom Halogen printing head when I last looked. They had already made a triple-toroidal sculpture a few feet across weighing several kilos, however it cost only a few UK pounds to make. Even they didnt have the nerve to say they invented it; the process was based on existing prototype equipment that used polymers, and all they did was 'hack' the idea into a homebrew alternative. Dino's idea of architectural printing is a good one, but he'll have to improve the fabrication process beyond constructing in a bath of sand for it to be practicable - perhaps by applying the sand from a mobile head as well as the binder. Until he can build these shapes in situ, there is little advantage that isnt aesthetic. And there are enough wierdy architects to satisfy than need already, surely.
Whoo. This has potental for foundries. Think of really tight control of sand cast molds for engine blocks, or other fine parts. Fiat might be a good start for their sports cars to work the bugs out(high profit,lower volume,cutting edge design.) plus Fiat is local and has resourses, and talent.