After speaking with some startups about their progress in 3D printed concrete, I thought it would be great to speak with a bigger company with decades of experience in materials engineering about their perspective on future construction tech and I was not disappointed. Matthew Carli and I spoke for 2 hours on the subject and you can watch the whole thing below.
For those of you who prefer a synopsis, we first discussed Matthews role as Director of Innovation at Laticrete. Instead of resting on their laurels they constantly scope out the emerging technologies in their industry and have developed many iterations of printable concrete mixes that set quickly and yield very impressive strength results, thus how Laticrete fits into the 3DCP world. Some other areas Laticrete is demonstrating their forward thinking is their free E-Learning platform.
We also spoke about why 3DCP is not the solution to affordable housing yet and the key milestones to get there in the near future. Primarily, the current mixes are over engineered to get the best possible results far beyond the requirements set forward for concrete historically. To create a solution that will provide mass affordable housing, engineers will need to start focusing on making a cost effective product. More demand for this mix will decrease the cost inevitably.
We also talked about a really cool project that may be on the E-Learning platform soon which was converting a regular desktop 3d printer to facilitate concrete printing. When this becomes available I may try to convert my Prusa MK3 myself.
Then we got into parametric design. The more I learn about 3DCP the more I realize how valuable the relationship between 3DCP and parametric design is. I will certainly have to dive deeper into this topic in the future.
We spent a bit of time discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on Laticrete. In many areas construction has been permitted at this point so Laticrete is certainly still very much in business, but COVID has transformed the way business is done. Everyone is pretty much working from home using Microsoft teams to collaborate and get their work done. Matthew said that Laticrete was able to adapt to this situation without halting too much of their productive activities.
I look forward to seeing how Laticretes developments contribute to the 3DCP space in the future, you can expect them to continue experimenting with printable fast set concrete and are already cementing themselves as a leader in construction materials.