3D concrete printing is an additive manufacturing technology that is attracting attention from the construction sector for its potential to increase productivity and product quality. In Indonesia, 3D concrete printing technology is uncommon in construction activities, in contrast to the developed countries. The main challenge with using 3D concrete printing technology is determining the composition of material mixtures that have good extrudability but still maintain sufficient strength.
(The following summary of the scientific paper linked below was generated with my guidance by an AI software. Reach out to me if you feel strongly about it in a positive or negative way.)
A previous study conducted by Antoni et al. experienced several problems, such as unsatisfactory extrusion process and cracks in the 3D printed material. In this study, the cement-to-sand ratio was reduced to reduce the cost of the material. Synthetic microfiber was used to reduce crack problems. The study aimed to investigate the effect of the cement-to-sand ratio, maximum particle size of sand, and addition of synthetic microfiber on fresh and hardened concrete properties including workability, initial setting time, extrudability, and compressive strength. The materials used were silica sand, calcium oxide (CaO), Portland cement, synthetic micro-fiber, admixtures such as accelerators and superplasticizers. Mix designs are shown in Table 1. The mixture with a higher cement-to-sand ratio had greater compressive strength and smaller flow diameter because of higher fresh mixture compaction and viscosity. However, an increase in the cement-to-sand ratio caused concrete to have slightly faster initial setting time. Using sand with smaller particle size resulted in faster initial setting time; however particle size did not affect compressive strength or workability of mixtures investigated in this study according to their findings .
Addition of synthetic microfibers accelerated initial setting time , reduced workability of mixture ,and decreased compressive strength of concrete by 5 percent compared to mixture without microfibers . Extruded concrete showed significant strength reduction compared to compacted cube specimen without compaction due lower density caused by trapped air voids . There was also an effect noted in the load direction on compressive strength of extruded concrete depending on bond between each layer ,extrusion pressure from subsequent layer ,and setting time fo mixture which all play a role controlling compressive strength . All mixtures selected met requirement for setting time and workabilty for 3D concrete printing process . Only some mixtures achieved desired properties for extrusion process; however depending machine setup and nozzle size ,mixture needs to be readjusted to have required workability.
Please reference or cite facts from the original study linked below, don’t cite facts directly from this AI generated summary.
3D Printed Construction has taken the world by storm time and time again, it seems each time a new project launches the world gets even more excited as this technology starts to bring the initial promises of cheap/ fast construction closer to reality at scale.
In my journeys around the world and of course nearly every state in the USA I have witnessed printing from all kinds of machines. It is incredible to see how many changes are being made to the print strategies they have over short periods of time. I am constantly inspired to continue digging deeper and learning more about automated construction as the issues which inspired me to pursue this in the first place worsen at an increasing pace. Housing costs, construction labor costs, these don’t seem to be temporary issues that are going away. I have been fortunate enough not only to watch these printers live on many occasions but also operate one taking lead on a print.
On my travels I have in fact seen more 3D printed homes than printers and I make sure to visit them multiple times throughout the construction process so I can see the things that will potentially be hidden by the time the home is complete. To understand 3D printed construction on a beginner level you need to have a grasp on the following things:
3D Concrete Printing
Course of Action
I have built a course “How to 3D Print a House for Beginners” which overviews each of the sections above in 200 minutes of video lectures. There are so many printers out there but the course is designed to be a blanket overview for all of them that gives a general picture of the equipment you are likely to find at every job site. Each company is unique is some way so there are variances from the course but the point is to give a firm baseline understanding.
I see this course platform developing into something that has tremendous group utility as course alumni pursue careers and startups in the 3D printed construction industry. As the small tribe of course members grows I have a roadmap for how I will build out more infrastructure on the website to accommodate the growing group.
Wow thank you so much let this be the start of something great for both of us!
Add Short Quiz at Each Section
Create Alumni Network Group Chat (Choose chat platform among ourselves)
New Section “Choose a Material Provider / DIY Material”
New Section “Choose a Printer”
Digital Conference Free for Course Members on 3D Printed Construction
3D Printed Construction Book Release
One lucky course member gets free vacation night in a 3D printed house
Create Alumni Network Job Board
The beta version 1.0 was launched yesterday and I have already made some small bug fixes and video updates. I guess you could say we are now on version 1.1, I intentionally set the price far below competing courses for the beta program but once I am sure it runs smoothly the price will increase sharply. By having the patience to be a part of the beta you save money for the same permanent course access that people will be paying double for in the future. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the course members who have reached out to let me know suggestions they have for improvements.
“Computational Investigation of Concrete Pipe Flow: Critical Review” (link)
“Effect of Particle Contact and High-Range Water-Reducing Admixture Adsorption on Rheology of Cement Paste” (link)
“Flow Characterization of Three-Dimensional Printable Cementitious Pastes during Extrusion Using Capillary Rheometry” (link)
“Determining Printable Zone of Three-Dimensional-Printable Mortar Using Flow Table Tests” (link)
“Nanotechnology for Improved Three-Dimensional Concrete Printing Constructability” (link)
“Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Technology – Principles and Applications” By G.K. Awari, C.S. Thorat, Vishwjeet Ambade, D.P. Kothari (link)
“INNOVATION IN CONCRETE STRUCTURES AND CEMENTITIOUS MATERIALS – 2020” (link)
“COMPUTATIONAL AND EMPIRICAL MODELING OF ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES” (link) -by a fellow Greek Researcher, well done 🙂
“Construction Techniques for Lowering Embodied GHGs: A Review of Prefabrication and 3D Printed Concrete Mix Designs” (link)
“3D printing of bio-inspired, multimaterial structures to enhance stiffness and toughness” (link)
“Development of the Russian construction industry in the context of transition to a digital economy” (link)
This article (ssh! secret/not included above 😀) is especially dedicated to Iakovos Giorgkensenis, mech tech God from the Northern Greeks (once hyggelig, always hyggelig <3)
P.S. #2: (disclaimer :D)
For those amongst us Brave enought (:-D) to reach the end of this post, please be advised: depending on the relevant parties’ feedback and receipt of this blog post series, from 2022 we might be shifting to a more “focus on one article/newsclipping at a time” approach… Any/all suggestions welcome 🙂 Another thought is to focus on one 3DCP Company at a time…. Only Time will tell; New Year hastily approaching 🙂
For a long time I’ve wondered why Elon never participated in 3D printed construction. As such a big fan of automation I would think he would have at least mentioned it once or twice but it turns out his company SpaceX has been experimenting with this technology more than the public was aware (until now). This is certainly the biggest story I have had the pleasure of breaking, I am honored that one of my YouTube subscribers anonymously contacted me and told me how to find the project.
When I heard about this project I booked a flight to Brownsville and went directly to SpaceX. I was able to do this because of all the support I get from the Virtual Village members. The Virtual Village has over 20 digital tours in the MetaVerse of 3D printed buildings and facilities totaling over 20,000 sq ft of virtually walkable space. Use code “EARLYBIRD” for 15% off for the next 20 members!
The construction completed by SpaceX is an addition to “The Hub” which is a small gathering space between the two launch pads on south padre island. Being an addition, this project did not require its own electrical/plumbing so it was pretty much just a simple print. The quality of the printed lines is quite high with no visible cracking. No visible cracks is a rarity in this space, it is possible that they concealed non structural aesthetic cracks but I saw no evidence of it. An Apis Cor printer was used to complete this project but I am unsure of the terms of their agreement. Currently Apis Cor uses a rental business model where customers must commit to a 1 year agreement. This project with SpaceX may have been a rental or may have just been something Apis was contracted to build as a one off and I am leaning towards the later because I didn’t see the printer there anymore and it was still actively under construction.
It is validating to see SpaceX experimenting with 3D printed concrete technology and it will be much more validating if they continue to do so. Hopefully I will be able to return to this site and do an interview with a SpaceX team member on why they decided to 3D print this addition to their Hub building. I personally feel that it will be more practical to go underground on mars in order to avoid the harmful radiation but if SpaceX is getting involved there must be something to it. Remember Elon also has the Boring Company which is the fastest tunnel digging machine in the world, I wonder if one of those things would fit in a falcon heavy rocket?
I will certainly make Brownsville one of my regular stops when I am in Texas, even if they don’t print any more buildings its so cool seeing the space ships and I’ve recently learned that SpaceX implements 3D printed metal for parts of the rocket engines. Printing allows more dynamic design possibilities because you can achieve structures within hollow sections that cannot be injection moulded due to their complexity. If I could ever get permission to see that process I would be super eager to make a video on it! Until then I will watch from afar, the SpaceX employee who very kindly asked me to leave the private property was too nice of a guy for me to disobey his request for me not to trespass. Hopefully I can do this again but through the proper routes in the future but I must admit I do enjoy the adventure!
Back in the day when I started my channel 2 years ago I was much more brash and kind of reckless, I trespassed a lot and refused to remove multiple videos but now that I have been at it for longer I am learning that it is more important to preserve relationships with innovative companies rather than trying to meddle in their private actives against their wishes. More and more information about construction automation is becoming available to the public as new stakeholders with a wide variety of motivations enter the market. Specifically the Habitat for Humanity projects will probably be the most transparent 3DCP project to date but we will have to wait until they are complete to get the information on what it cost to complete that project. The one in Arizona will be particularly illuminating because 3 stickbuilt homes of the same size are built right next door so it will be the first truly valid cost comparison.
P.S. Hey Elon! I’ve seen almost every concrete printer company just reach out if you’d ever like to chat! I’m always happy to talk to people printing buildings. (For those who haven’t yet I charge a fee.)
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Dear All, please find below the latest update concerning our beloved Industry 😉
A more “digestible”/reader-friendly (focus on avoidance-of-TLDR mode on 😀) was followed in this circular. Furthermore, all links are grouped (as much as possible) thematically-related 😉
I. Related/selected news clippings collection:
“2 Companies Announce Plans to 3D Print Entire Texas Neighborhood” (link) –> “…if the project succeeds, it could eventually help alleviate chronic shortages of affordable housing in cities across the U.S.“
“The future of home building? 3D-printed homes coming to the USA” (link) –> “…can withstand extreme weather conditions and be produced leaving much less waste than traditional builds..“
“A pact towards 3D printing hemp based affordable housing” (link) –> “The companies will form a green box solution–a perfect trifecta of hemp processing, construction ink development and printing–that begins at the farm level creating jobs, training opportunities and innovation with the potential to change the world.“
“Black Buffalo 3D Announces Pact to 3D Print Plant-Based Affordable Housing” (link) –> “The group’s mission is to introduce a greener alternative to traditional building materials — used for infrastructure, housing, and commercial applications.“
“The First Park to be Built Using 3D Printing is in China” (link) –> “…is said to be composed of 50% sand that can be obtained locally, thus reducing the environmental footprint and transportation costs“
“This is the first public park printed in 3D” (link) –> “…the 2,000 pieces that they created to decorate this public park of more than 5,500 square meters, were printed in two and a half months, a fraction of the time that would have been necessary with bricklayers and conventional cement.“
“Purdue researchers test 3D concrete printing system as part of NSF-funded project” (link) –> “…conducting research into RCAM Technologies’ 3D-printed suction anchors to replace traditional anchors for offshore wind plants.“
“Offices completed in just 45 hours using 3-D printing technology” (link) –> “Laying down two parallel printing paths creates a hollow wall that is then backfilled with cast-in-place concrete as a load-bearing system. To create the outer wall, a second cavity is formed by printing another mortar path further outside the previous wall and filling this with thermal insulation material. The printed walls can be regarded as a kind of lost formwork system.”
II.Current scientific literature review (published papers):
“A review of printing strategies, sustainable cementitious materials and characterization methods in the context of extrusion-based 3D concrete printing” (link), Authors: Yu Chen, Shan He, Yidong Gan, Oğuzhan Çopuroğlu, Fred Veer, Erik Schlangen
Excerpt of notice/interest: “Compared to the very high/sufficiently stiff material, the material for set-on-demand printing exhibits exceptionally high fluidity during mixing, pumping, and extrusion processes, which may be more suitable for large-scale construction projects. However, the study of set-on-demand printing is still limited and requires further investigation.”
“The influence of interface on the structural stability in 3D concrete printing processes” (link), Authors: Xuanting Liu, Bohua Sun
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The numerical model presented in this paper can accuratelypredict the stability failure height of the printed structure, whichindicates that the layer interface is an important index that shouldbe used to evaluate the stability of a printed structure.“
“Effect of processing parameters on the printing quality of 3D printed composite cement-based materials” (link), Authors: Hongping Zhang, Jianhong Wang, Yaling Liu, Xiaoshuang Zhang, Zhiyi Zhao
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The printing speed determines the accuracy of the printing compo-nent size, and the printing line width has a great influence on the printing component size. In the case of certain fluidity, viscosity and nozzle diameter, the printing width decreases with increasing printing speed, and the optimal printing speed is 50 mm/s; The concrete requires advanced leveling at the initial stage of printing. The printing thickness of each layer is different in the leveling stage. After the leveling stage, the thickness of each layer remains at a certain value, which is basically the same as the height of the printing nozzle from the printing layer platform. Intermittent printing with a joint can improve the printing quality, but it easily causes stress concentration at the joint, and special treatment is required to improve the overall strength.“
“Investigation of the material mixtures and fiber addition for 3D concrete printing” (link), Authors: A Antoni, A Agraputra, D Teopilus, A H Sunaryo, M M Mulyadi, P Pudjisuryadi, J Chandra, D Hardjito
Excerpt of notice/interest: “There is an effect in the load direction on the compressive strength of the extruded concrete. The 3D printed concrete loaded parallel or perpendicular to its printing direction could have different compressive strengths. The bond between each layer, extrusion pressure from the subsequent layer, and the setting time of the mixture would play a significant role in controlling the compressive strength.“
“Creative Compensation (CC): Future of Jobs with Creative Works in 3D Printing” (link), Authors: Chen Liang, Nahyun Kwon, Jeeeun Kim
Excerpt of notice/interest: “Although there is a diverse gap between ideal compensation and the current status, it still shows a wide variety of socio-economic opportunities for designers.“
“Multi-material additive manufacturing in architecture and construction: A review” (link), Authors: Adam Pajonk, Alejandro Prieto, Ulrich Blum, Ulrich Knaack
Excerpt of notice/interest: “…initial projects and proof-of-concept models aim to mitigate the general challenges of the industry, such as high material consumption, limited adaptability of components to environmental changes and structural requirements, and an overload of complexity of the prevailing assembly and construction processes. From these projects, the potentials of creating functionally graded transitions, adjusting the material properties across the volume of an object, eliminating interfaces and enabling part-count reduction across different materials, and 4D Printing – programming material behaviour were identified and discussed using the respective examples. These potentials highlight opportunities for MMAM in the architecture and construction industry that can be further 954 developed and transferred to other use cases.“
“Interlayer Strength of 3D‐Printed Mortar Reinforced by Post-installed Reinforcement” (link), Authors: Jihun Park, Quang‐The Bui, Jungwoo Lee, Changbin Joh, In‐Hwan Yang
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The interlayer bonding strengths of 3D‐printed mortar with different curing conditions and reinforcement methods were investigated in this study.”
“Modeling and analysis of 3D-printed reinforced and prestressed concrete beams” (link), Authors: J Chandra, H Wibowo, D Wijaya, F O Purnomo, P Pudjisuryadi, A Antoni
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The constitutive law for conventional concrete can adequately be used to model 3D-printed RC and PC beams failing in flexure.“
“Thermal and Environmental Benefits of 3D Printing on Building Construction” (link), Authors: Luiz Rocha, Antonio Ferreira Miguel, Andreas Öchsner
Excerpt of notice/interest: “This work presents the most important advances in 3D printing in civil engineering, specifically, a critical review of the thermal and environmental benefits of 3D printing on building construction.“
“Classification of Robotic 3D Printers in the AEC Industry” (link), Authors: Ala Saif Eldin Sati, Bharadwaj R. K. Mantha, Saleh Abu Dabous, Borja García de Soto
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The developed classifications showed that the most used material in 3D printing in the AEC industry is cementitious. Although polymers are the most common material used in 3D printing in different industries, it is limited in AEC industry. The right parameters should be selected in order to determine the appropriate 3D printing robotic systems.“
(in chinese) “ANALYSIS OF MECHANICAL PERFORMANCES OF CYLINDER IN 3D CONCRETE PRINTING PROCESSES” (link), Authors: LIU Xuanting, SUN Bohua
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The results of parameter model and finite element simulation were compared with the existing experiments, which verify that the proposed model can better predict the failure length and failure form of 3DCP cylinders, and provide a theoretical guidance for finding the optimal printing parameters set.“
“The Limitation and Application of geometric Buildings and Civil Structures” (link), Authors: Majid M. Kharnoob, Al hasan J. Hasan, Lana M. Sabti
Excerpt of notice/interest: “This invoice concerning trade opinions appears over associated according to the geometric QA concerning constructions then non-military constructions the usage about non-contact sensing technologies.“
“Is Your Construction Site Secure? A View From the Cybersecurity Perspective” (link), Authors: M. S. Sonkoram B. García de Soto
Excerpt of notice/interest: “…an implementation of a generic cybersecurity framework (i.e., the FICIC by NIST) that assesses the employed countermeasures against the construction-specific cyber threats was presented in this paper.“
“Residential Construction with a Focus on Evaluation of the Life Cycle of Buildings” (link), Authors: Eduard Hromada, Stanislav Vitasek, Jakub Holcman, Renata Schneiderova Heralova, Tomas Krulicky
Excerpt of notice/interest: “The paper investigated the potential role of LCC calculations in planning, construction, and operation phases of residential development projects. The paper tested the impact of five variants of heating and hot water preparation on life cycle costs (LCC). The LCC tool developed by the co-authors of this article was used for testing.“
“Exploring the potential of 3D Printing Construction to address housing issues for South Sudanese Refugees“, MSc Thesis (link), Author: Kyle O’Brien Quinn
Excerpt of notice/interest: “If the development of 3D printing reaches the point to where it can become accessible to these hard-to-reach areas and provides enough benefits to supplement the traditional forms of vernacular construction, it has the potential to affect positive change in these areas much like the smartphone has.“
Wishes from the post’s start for a pleasant & restful weekend.
Current scientific literature review sorted by:
“Digital fabrication of eco-friendly ultra-high performance fiber-reinforced concrete” (link), Authors: Arun R. Arunothayan, Behzad Nematollahi, Ravi Ranade, Kamal H. Khayat, Jay G. Sanjayan
Selected quote/point of interest: “The rheological flow curves of the G-UHPFRC mixtures were non-linear and followed the Hershel-Buckley model. When OPC was partially replaced by SCMs, the yield stress and viscosity were reduced, and the structural build-up rate was lower. Plastic collapses were observed in S0F60 and S30F30 mixtures when a relatively high print speed was employed (80 mm/s). Nevertheless, all mixtures performed sufficiently well when the print speed was 30 mm/s.“
“Design of novel nozzles for higher interlayer strength of 3D printed cement paste” (link), Authors: Lewei He, Jolyn Ze Mei Tan, Wai Tuck Chow, Hua Li, Jiahui Pan
Selected quote/point of interest: “The present nozzle optimization also extends to another supplementary paste formula with higher water-cement ratio equal to about 0.23. It is found that the “Kidney” shape achieves the interlayer strength of 2.25 MPa and becomes the optimized outlet design subject to this paste formula, and the “Cir4″ nozzle becomes superior to the “Cir3″ nozzle due to smaller notch depth that is printed. Moreover, the notch depth by the nozzles with the side trowel is further reduced by the higher water-cement ratio of paste, such that the produced interlayer strength is 3.88 MPa, comparable to that generated with the treatment by removing the interlayer notch.“
“Mechanical and microstructural properties of 3D printable concrete in the context of the twin-pipe pumping strategy” (link), Authors: Yaxin Tao, A.V. Rahul, Karel Lesage, Kim Van Tittelboom, Yong Yuan, Geert De Schutter
Selected quote/point of interest: “Fig. 20. Ion migration between the striations of PC-based mixture and LP-based mixture” (believe me, it is worth noticing this specific Figure…!)
“Multi-objective optimization of 3D printed shell toolpaths” (link), Authors: Alexander CURTH, Tim BRODESSER, Lawrence SASS, Caitlin MUELLER
Selected quote/point of interest: “Establishing standardized testing procedures for less engineered materials, such as local soil mixtures, would allow for more accurate simulation of truly low embodied carbon materials for construction scale printing.”
“Modeling the robotics implementation barriers for construction projects in developing countries” (link), Authors: Ayodeji Emmanuel Oke, Ahmed Farouk Kineber, Ibraheem Albukhari, Adeyemi James Dada
Selected quote/point of interest: “The findings obtained from this study showed that construction professionals exhibited a considerable level of knowledge regarding the adoption of robotics. However, the practical application of robotics in the construction industry was still deficient.”
“Additive Manufacturing of Sustainable Construction Materials and Form-finding Structures: A Review on Recent Progresses” (link), Authors: Junli Liu, Vuong Nguyen-Van, Biranchi Panda, Kate Fox, Anton du Plessis, Phuong Tran
Selected quote/point of interest: “The fresh and hardened mechanical properties of various sustainable materials for extrusion-based 3D printing are presented, followed by discussions on different topology optimization techniques. The current state of global research and industrial applications in 3DCP, along with the development of sustainable construction materials, is also summarized.“
“Additive Manufacturing of Sustainable Construction Materials and Form-finding Structures: A Review on Recent Progresses” (link), Authors: Junli Liu, Vuong Nguyen-Van, Biranchi Panda, Kate Fox, Anton du Plessis, Phuong Tran
Selected quote/point of interest: “The current state of global research and industrial applications in 3DCP, along with the development of sustainable construction materials, is also summarized.“
“Dimensional Stability of 3D Printed Objects Made from Plastic Waste Using FDM: Potential Construction Applications” (link), Authors: Essam Zaneldin, Waleed Ahmed, Aya Mansour, Amged El Hassan
Selected quote/point of interest: “The study also concluded that 3D printed material from plastic waste is considered a feasible alternative for several traditional construction elements, such as lightweight concrete hollow blocks, ultra-lightweight concrete hollow blocks, and lightweight concrete bricks, since they are less expensive and have higher compressive strength. The cost per square meter of 3D printed objects is around 41% less than that of the traditional lightweight concrete bricks with a higher compressive strength.“
“Mechanical evaluations of bioinspired TPMS cellular cementitious structures manufactured by 3D printing formwork” (link), Author: Vuong Nguyen-Van
Selected quote/point of interest: “This study indicates that the mechanical performance of the TPMS (Primitive and Gyroid) and lattice blocks from the experiment show great agreement with that predicted by the FE analysis.“
“Effect of accelerated curing and layer deformations on structural failure during extrusion-based 3D printing” (link), Author: A.S.J.Suiker
Selected quote/point of interest: “Recent experimental research indicates that the buildability of fresh concrete used in extrusion-based 3D printing processes can be significantly enhanced by chemically accelerating the curing process. In the present contribution the effect of accelerated curing on failure by plastic collapse and elastic buckling during 3D concrete printing is explored by incorporating a power-law curing function in the parametric 3D printing model.“
“A Compact ESPI System for Measuring 3D Displacements” (link), Authors: F. Zanini Broetto, G. S. Schajer
Selected quote/point of interest: “The novel ESPI interferometer presented here can measure full-field surface displacements in three dimensions.”
“THE IMPACT OF BIM IMPLEMENTATION ON THE CULTURE AND PROCESSES OF A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY” (link), Author: V. Nyvlt
Selected quote/point of interest: “The pressure on workers at the lowest income level will increase, as technological changes will affect their employability more than at higher income categories.”
“USING IMMERSIVE VIDEO TECHNOLOGY FOR CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT CONTENT DELIVERY: A PILOT STUDY” (link), Authors: Alireza Shojaei, Saeed Rokooei, Amirsaman Mahdavian, Lee Carson, George Ford
“Sustainable binders for the creation of a dredge-based tile” (MSc Thesis)(link), Author: Otger Spinnewijn
“High-performance strain-hardening cementitious composites with tensile strain capacity exceeding 4%: A review” (link), Authors: Doo-Yeol Yoo, Nemkumar Banthia
Selected quote/point of interest: “SHCCs have high potential as materials for 3D building construction. However, most of the previous studies have been conducted based on ordinary SHCC materials, such as ECC, ultra-high-ductility concrete with normal compressive strength of 38.8 MPa, and high-strength FRCCs. Therefore, further research on the development of 3D-printable high-performance SHCCs with over 55 MPa compressive strength and 4% strain capacity is required.”
“A Multi(two)-Nozzle Cable-Driven Parallel Robot For 3D Printing Building Construction: Path Optimization and Vibration Analysis” (link), Authors: Sy Nguyen-Van, Kwan-Woong Gwak
Selected quote/point of interest: “To investigate the vibration of the two-nozzle CDPR, its natural frequencies were computed by using the finite element method and its results were verified with a comparison with the commercial software results. Through natural frequency analysis, it was found that the higher stiffness or the higher natural frequencies could be achieved by increasing the minimum cable tension constraint used in the tension distribution optimization algorithm. It is also revealed that the natural frequency goes up as the printing head moves up towards the top center of the workspace.”
“Dimensional Stability of 3D Printed Objects Made from Plastic Waste Using FDM: Potential Construction Applications” (link), Authors: Essam Zaneldin, Waleed Ahmed, Aya Mansour, Amged El Hassan
“AutoCIS: An Automated Construction Inspection System for Quality Inspection of Buildings” (link), Authors: S. A. Prieto, N. Giakoumidis, B. García de Soto
Selected quote/point of interest: “This study presents the preliminary work done to develop the AutoCIS, an automated construction inspection system consisting of a multi-robot approach for autonomous quality assessment and progress monitoring during the construction stage.”
“3DP-FAS: An Intelligent Quality Assurance System for 3D Printer” (link), Authors: Basil C. Sunny, Shajulin Benedict, Keerthana B.
Selected quote/point of interest: “This paper proposes a new architecture named 3DPFAS, for detecting failures as well as assuring the quality of 3D printing. This architecture is built upon the IoT-3DP ecology of remote 3D printers connected through the internet, camera modules and Web APIs.“
“Environmental Footprint and Economics of a Full-Scale 3D-Printed House” (link), Authors: Hadeer Abdalla, Kazi Parvez Fattah, Mohamed Abdallah, Adil K. Tamimi
Selected quote/point of interest: “The eco-efficiency analysis revealed that 3D printing was the optimum choice.“
“Early-age creep behaviour of 3D printable mortars: Experimental characterisation and analytical modelling” (link), Authors: Laura Esposito, Lorenzo Casagrande, Costantino Menna, Domenico Asprone, Ferdinando Auricchio
Selected quote/point of interest: “Further developments should be made to consider the variability in mix composition and correlated material curing properties. The diversification in 3D concrete printing technologies (e.g., building rates, time gap, pressure during extrusion, nozzle characteristics) has to be considered in future research: the fabrication of full-scale 3D concrete printed objects, equipping setup with optic measurement tools to improve the accuracy of the results, should provide data useful to validate the employment of the Burgers’ model and the early-age creep quantification.“
“In-situ embedded PZT sensor for monitoring 3D concrete printing: application in alkali-activated fly ash-slag geopolymers” (link), Authors: Amarteja Kocherla, Tippabhotla A. Kamakshi, Kolluru V. L. Subramaniam
Selected quote/point of interest: “Both build-up of the internal structure within the material and self-weight of the layers produce a drop in the peak conductance of the resonant peak; they produce counteracting effects on resonance frequency.“
(in korean) “Flame Retardant Properties of Polymer Cement Mortar Mixed with Light-weight Materials for 3D Printing” (link), Authors: Bae-Geun Son, Hun Song
Selected quote/point of interest: “From the test result, the test specimen using silica sand and light-weight aggregate showed good flame resistance performance, and if the EVA redispersible polymer powder is applied below 5%, it shows good flame resistance performance.“
(in korean) “Strength Characteristics in 3D-printed Concrete with Interlayer Reinforcements” (link), Authors: Jung Woo Lee, Ji-Hun Park, The Quang Bui, ⋅Changbin Jo, In-Hwan Yang
Selected quote/point of interest: “Interlayer bonding strength of printed concrete decreased after air curing treatment was applied because interlayers of printed concrete with more pores formed by the air cu ring conditions are more vulnerable to the load.“
B. Related/selected news clippings collection:
“PERI and STRABAG to Build Europe’s Largest 3D Printed Office Space with a COBOD 3D Printer” (link)
“PERI and STRABAG print first building in Austria” (link 1) (link 2)
“PERI AND WASP UNVEIL BREAKTHROUGH 3D PRINTED BUILDINGS IN AUSTRIA AND DUBAI” (link)
“New 3D printed houses in the United States using COBOD printers” (link)
“COBOD CLIENTS 3D PRINT THREE U.S. HOMES IN BID TO START TACKLING AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS” (link)
“World’s largest 3D-printed neighbourhood to come up in Texas” (link)
“World’s largest community of 3D-printed homes unfolds in Austin” (link)
“World’s largest 3D-printed neighborhood to break ground in Texas” (link)
“Building with 3D printers may hold promise for affordable housing” (link)
“World’s Largest 3-D Home Community Set For 2022 In Austin” (link)
“World’s largest 3D-printed neighborhood comes to Texas” (link)
“ICON to build world’s largest community of 3D-printed houses” (link)
“ICON, Lennar partner on largest 3D-printed community” (link)
“BIG and ICON to create world’s “largest neighbourhood” of 3D-printed homes” (link)
Coral Reefs 🙂
“Scientists Have Created A New Technique To Regrow Damaged Coral Reefs Using 3D Printing” (link)
“3D PRINTED MYCELIUM REEFS SEEK TO IMPROVE URBAN BIODIVERSITY” (link)
“Study Explores Use of 3D Printing to Speed Up Coral Restoration” (link)
Wishes for a pleasant start of the week, Monday’s study material coming up 😉 Wishes for a Productive Week!
Current scientific literature review sorted by:
“Presentation of a concrete additive manufacturing extruder with online rheology modification capabilities” (link), Authors: L. Poudelet, A. Castellví, L. Calvo, R. Cardona, R. Uceda, F. Fenollosa
Selected quote/point of interest: “Thanks to every partner of the HINDCON project and special thanks to Phd José Antonio Tenorio Ríos (CSIC) and Phd Hélène Lombois-Burger(Lafarge). The results are obtained from the HINDCON project (H2020 under GA 723611).”
“On rheology of mortar with recycled fine aggregate for 3D printing” (link, news clip), Authors: Shuai Zou, Jianzhuang Xiao, Zhenhua Duan, Tao Ding, Shaodan Hou
Selected quote/point of interest: “Since high-rate shearing were found to highly decrease the mentioned rheological parameters of 3DP mixtures, a feeding system which can provide high-rate and continuous shearing was recommended in practical printing to prolong the open time of printing mixtures.”
“Additive manufacturing of clay and ceramic building components” (link), Authors: Alexander Wolf, Philipp Laurens, Rosendahl, Ulrich Knaack
Selected quote/point of interest: “Also noticeable in chapter 5.1 is the complete absence of highly specialized components with the dimensions of classic bricks. By developing such, it could be possible to integrate functions like conduit management into monolithic walls, which could be sort of an evolution to A9.”
“Additive manufacturing: recent trends, applications and future outlooks” (link), Authors: Manu Srivastava, Sandeep Rathee
Selected quote/point of interest: “This article exhaustively reviews the various AM applications in different sectors such as aerospace, repair, automobile, healthcare, retail, etc. and is aimed to provide the readers a deep insight into the probable unexplored areas through an extensive literature analysis.”
“Robotics technologies aided for 3D printing in construction: a review” (link), Authors: Zhen Xu, Tao Song, Shuai Guo, Jiangtao Peng, Lingdong Zeng, Mengmeng Zhu
Selected quote/point of interest: “Therefore, the future research will deeply integrate the mobile robotics with the printing processes, building materials, and construction environments, which can truly realize a green and sustainable building construction and digital transformation.”
“3D printing large scale curbed forms using heat formed coral reef tiles” (link), Authors: Marko D Jovanović, Marko P Vučić, Radovan B Štulić, Maja Petrovic
Selected quote/point of interest: “The use of coral reef dynamic optimization process and state recording of the shapes proved to be an excellent manner of generating a volume that has an organic looking transition, but with random fuses of cantilevering parts, removing them completely or mitigating their influence significantly.”
“Shaking Table Test of a Friction Sliding System on a Concrete Member with Variable Curvature Fabricated by a Three-dimensional Printer” (link), Miguel B. Brito, Mitsuyoshi Akiyama,Tetsuta Seto, Riki HondaO, Naomitsu Ishigaki
Selected quote/point of interest: “The proposed friction pendulum sliding system for bridge structures provides a low-cost design solution that can ensure post-event operability.”
Selected quote/point of interest: “The interlayer bond strength between successive filament layers with and without nanoparticle addition is determined by the help of 4-point bending test. This is a crucial test for 3DPC, as the interlayer bond strength is typically weaker than the concrete itself. Adequate rheology can result in filament layers were merged in order to form a homogenous concrete section and it leads to resulting in stronger structures without weak interlayer bonds.”
“Research on desktop 3D Printing Multi-Material New Concepts” (link), Authors: F Fenollosa, R Uceda, A Tejo, L Calvo, L Poudelet, I Buj
Selected quote/point of interest: “Revolver print-head: suitable solution if the multi-materiality is limited to filaments, using up to five different materials. It is considered impossible to combine FFF (filaments) and DIW (liquids) print-heads in a single rotating structure.”
“Comparison of multi-axis printing strategies effects on large-scale 3D printed surface quality” (link), Authors: Martin Krčma, David Paloušek
Selected quote/point of interest: “Τhe combination of nonplanar trajectories and multi axis motion brings real expansion of capabilities for large scale FDM style printing. When printing large scale objects with large nozzle sizes, single line walls are often all that is necessary to achieve desired structural performance and this, combined with the limited ability of screw extruders to perform retractions, leads to the vase mode printing being a very suitable choice. Using this methods, stable wall thickness and large overhang angles of at least 75° are achievable and quality of single walled objects is increased in regards to surface roughness at overhang angles over 15° and mechanical strength, with 20% loss of maximum average delamination force for 5-axis nonplanar trajectory at 45° compared to 50% loss for 3-axis planar trajectory.”
“Systematic analysis of additive manufacturing for printing on semi-finished parts” (link), Authors: M Kizak1, A Matschinski, K Drechsler
Selected quote/point of interest: “The complied approach enables the manufacturing of hybrid components consisting of semi-finished parts with a complex surface geometry and printed segments.”
“Geometrically modified auxetic polyurethane foams and their potential application in impact mitigation of masonry structures” (link), Authors: Mohammad Asad, Tatheer Zahra, David P.Thambiratnam, Tommy H.T. Chan, Yan Zhuge
Selected quote/point of interest: “Unreinforced masonry structures constructed along busy road have been vulnerable to vehicular impacts with damage to property and harm to the occupants of both the building and vehicle. This paper investigated the design and insertion of various forms of geometrically modified auxetic foam structures inside the hollow cores of block masonry walls for mitigating the adverse effects of such impacts.”
B. Books (ahem, Book -one-) 🙂
“Re-skilling Human Resources for Construction 4.0“ (link, link)
[ISBN: 978-3-030-85972-5] “Explores the technologies of Construction 4.0 such as BIM, robotics, 3D printing and drones. Enables stakeholders to develop the skills needed for construction 4.0, especially in developing countries. Demonstrates that Industry 4.0 has transformed the construction industry with smart and sustainable technologies.”
C.Dissertations / Theses 🙂
“Does 3D printing have a future in the construction industry and could it be a disruptive technology?” (link)
“The end consumer will probably adopt a 3D printed house one day. However, the day when individuals will have a 3D printer to build their own house is not in the near future.”
“3D Printer Integrated with emerging technologies” (link)
“3D Printed Concrete Block with Steel Reinforcements” (link)
D.Company_sorted-wise (in alphabetical order):
“COBOD Customers Build Three New 3D Printed Houses in the US” (link)
“3 new AM houses being completed in the US by COBOD customers” (link)
“Holcim partners with shelter organizations” (link)
“Additive Manufacturing – Everything You Need to Know” (link)
“QUT designs 3D-printed product to protect buildings from impact damage” (link)
“Sectoral Policies to Drive Productivity Growth” (link)
“Coalition Explores The Future Of Alternative Housing In Nome” (link)
F. Very interesting prospects… (personal choice/suggestions):
“Innovation Strategy of 3D Printing in Industrial Design Based on Vision Sensor” (link)
Selected quote/point of interest: “Based on the related theory of vision sensor 3D printing, this paper studies the application of 3D printing technology in industrial product design and direct manufacturing, proposes a free design method for 3D printing, carries out innovation and free design of mechanical parts structure, and verifies the feasibility of processing.”
“Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the cement industry via value chain mitigation strategies” (link)
Selected quote/point of interest: “Current 3D printing applications are unfortunately utilized predominately for esthetics and usually would consume more cement than a conventional concrete structure. More work is clearly needed to verify beneficial designs.”
“Challenges in the microwave heating of lunar regolith – analysis through the design of a Microwave Heating Demonstrator (MHD) payload” (link)
Selected quote/point of interest: “This paper discusses some non-negligible phenomena during the microwave heating of lunar regolith, which need to be considered for future mission applications.”
“The Newtonian gravity of irregular shapes using STL files and 3D printing” (link)
Selected quote/point of interest: “A deep understanding of the link between the gravity and the shape is quite important to interpret some basic facts of nature. In this paper, we show how simple concepts can be used to create a more general algorithm that has been implemented in matlab to compute the gravity of irregular bodies.”
“Design and construction of a test bench for the manufacture and on-machine non-contact inspection of parts obtained by Fused Filament Fabriction” (link)
Selected quote/point of interest: “The test bench is provided with independent controllers for both the 3D printing and the inspection subsystems, but also with a top level control software that enables a coordinated working of both subsystems to make it possible to digitize a layer after being deposited and to continue then producing the part. Robustness and accessibility were some constructive criteria but also the use of technology similar to that of a commercial FFF 3D printer.”
You’ve made it to the End; hoorah! hat-off.. until the next time 😉
Served below are tidbits of Knowledge & relevant (useful!) news; let’s see how this plays out 🙂
Wishes for a Pleasant & Productive Week!
A. Current scientific literature review:
“Influence of phase change material on concrete behavior for construction 3D printing“, Authors: Qamar Shahzad, Junyi Shen, Rabia Naseem, Yonggang Yao, Saad Waqar, Wenqiang Liu (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> justified/proven cost-effectiveness of optimized material when used for the C3DP process.
“Bending behaviour of steel cable reinforced 3D printed concrete in the direction perpendicular to the interfaces“, Authors: Jianzhuang Xiao, Zixuan Chen, Tao Ding, Shuai Zou (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> The reinforcement method proposed in this study greatly improved the bending behaviour of 3DPC specimens in the direction perpendicular to the interfaces.
“Shear-thickening behavior of sustainable cement paste — Controlling physical parameters of new sources of supplementary cementitious materials“, Authors: Houssam Kemer, Rachid Bouras, Noureddine Mesboua, Mohammed Sonebi, Oliver Kinnane (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> …. three main contributions: (i) Based on the win–win concept, low evolution on shear thickening (n = 1.31 max) of sustainable cement pastes based new sources of SCMs (CD and CB) has been registered compared to previous researches under same conditions, with addition of the environmental impact including its carbon footprint reduction without forgetting less energy associated with proposed SCMs production; (ii) The ability to correlate the physical parameters of SCMs and SP type with shear-thickening intensity; (iii) a significant information and data for optimal concrete design and their application.
“Expansive cementitious materials to improve micro-cable reinforcement bond in 3D concrete printing“, Authors: Zhijian Li, Guowei Ma, Fang Wang, Li Wang, Jay Sanjayan (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> …. this study pioneers a technique to simultaneously include a liquid agent and a solid reinforcement into concrete filaments during the 3D printing process. It paves a new route for multi-deposition in 3D concrete printing.
“3D printable concrete with natural and recycled coarse aggregates: Rheological, mechanical and shrinkage behaviour“, Authors: A.V. Rahul, Manu K. Mohan, Geert De Schutter, Kim Van Tittelboom (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> …. coarse aggregates can be successfully utilized in printable concrete formulations to achieve economic benefits and improve shrinkage cracking resistance. For lower replacement levels (30 vol % considered in the current study), the use of recycled aggregates can be a good alternative to using natural aggregates without causing a significant reduction in mechanical properties.
“Fresh and hardened properties of 3D printable polymer fibre-reinforced high-performance cementitious composite“, Authors: Luong Pham, Biranchi Panda, Phuong Tran (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> …. The presence of fibre with relatively small volume fraction (0.2%) leads to a noticeable increase in yield stress, flow loss and green strength.
“Mechanical anisotropy of ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced concrete for 3D printing“, Authors: Yekai Yang, Chengqing Wu, Zhongxian Liu, Hailiang Wang, Quanchang Ren (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … the effect of steel fibre content and length, preparation method, and loading direction on the mechanical properties of 3DP-UHPFRC was evaluated through the compressive, flexural, splitting tensile, and uniaxial tensile tests, and the anisotropy of 3DP-UHPFRC was analysed.
“3-D Printer Robot for Civil Construction: A Bond Graph Approach“, Authors: V. Khandelwal, V. Bhatia, V. Dogra, S. Sharma, V. Chhabra, R. Singh, D. Kumar, T. K. Bera (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Three lead screws will provide the movement in the vertical as well as in horizontal directions and a nozzle connected to the horizontal lead screw will be used for pouring the construction-material layer by layer. Thereafter, structural analysis using Finite Element Method (FEM) has been done on critical parts like lead screw and top plate. Bond graphs for buggy and overall lead screw system have also been used to analyze the response of the system.
“DFAB HOUSE: implications of a building-scale demonstrator for adoption of digital fabrication in AEC“, Authors: Konrad Graser, Aniko Kahlert, Daniel M. Hall (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Using Qualitative Content Analysis, we provide an overview of the challenges to consider and the strategies available to successfully adopt DFAB technologies in construction projects, establishing a socio-technical framework for DFAB adoption in AEC projects.
“Statistical analysis of sustainable geopolymer concrete“, Authors: Y.S.N. Kishore, Sai Geeta Devi, Nadimpalli, Ashish Kumar Potnuru, Jayaprakash Vemuri, Mohd Ataullah Khan (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Due to the alkaline activators’ sticky nature leading to an improved bond strength, geopolymer cements have attracted extrusion-based concrete 3D printing industry and also an increased paste to aggregate bond strength is observed in geopolymer based concrete.
“A study on thermal behaviour of a 3D printer and extruded material with thermal imaging method“, Authors: Serdar Arhan, Semih Yilmaz, Kerim Deniz Kaya, Kubilay Bayramoglu (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … thermal behaviour and temperature distribution between printed deposition material, printing platform and 3D printing components are obtained concerning time.
“Large Particle 3D Concrete Printing—A Green and Viable Solution“, Authors: Inka Mai ,Leon Brohmann, Niklas Freund, Stefan Gantner, Harald Kloft, Dirk Lowke, Norman Hack (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … the surface finishing of the edges using subtractive milling allows for the production of precise visual and functional surfaces, and offers a good contrast to the otherwise rough surfaces delivered with the LP3DCP process.
“Application of 3D Printing Technology in the Mechanical Testing of Complex Structural Rock Masses“, Authors: Yingjie Xia, Qingkun Meng, Chuanqing Zhang, Ning Liu, Zhenxing Zhao, Jun Chen, Gao Yang (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Due to the size effect of rock masses and anisotropic characteristics of the 3D printed specimens, it is necessary for the 3D printers to have high precision, be able to print large specimens, be suitable for long-term printing, and have the capability to print using different types of materials.
“Mobile 3D Printing Robot Simulation with Viscoelastic Fluids“, Authors: Uljad Berdica, Yuewei Fu, Yuchen Liu, Emmanouil Angelidis, Chen Feng (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … This new approach to simulation solves the computationally costly bottlenecks of mesh-based simulation by adding an external meshing module which lets the user choose the implicit surface generation method and the resolution.
“Incorporation of Phase Change Materials and Application of 3D Printing Technology in the Geopolymer Development“, Author: Ahmed Nmiri (link)
Chapter in “Advances in Geopolymer-Zeolite Composites – Synthesis and Characterization“
“Fresh properties of 3D printed mortar with recycled powder“, Authors: Shaodan Hou, Jianzhuang Xiao, Zhenhua Duan, Guowei Ma (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The flowability, open time, penetration resistance stress, mechanical properties, hydration heat, extrudability and buildability of fresh 3DPM have been intensively studied.
“Rheology of fresh cement pastes modified with nanoclay-coated cements“, Authors: AlaEddin Douba, Siwei Ma, Shiho Kawashima (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … NC increases C–S–H growth and potentially surface-based C–S–H nucleation, which corresponds to increased rigidification and stiffness. The effect of NC on static yield stress, storage modulus and its storage modulus evolution can lead to high buildability and shape stability for 3DCP.
“Advanced honeycomb designs for improving mechanical properties: A review“, Authors: Chang Qi, Feng Jiang, Shu Yang (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The novel honeycombs with advanced designs have high stiffness, strength and energy absorption, low mass density, and large range of Poisson’s ratio under different load conditions.
“A review on the energy absorption response and structural applications of auxetic structures“, Authors: Matheus Brendon Francisco, João Luiz Junho Pereira, Guilherme Antônio Oliver, Lucas Ramon Roque da Silva, Sebastião Simões Cunha Jr, Guilherme Ferreira Gomes (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … This manuscript has more than 150 papers as a reference about energy absorption of auxetic structures and shows how several authors have approached the subject and how research in this field has progressed.
“Hierarchical alignment of 3D print with tool path based on microstructure“, Authors: Yifan Yang, Yutaka Ohtake, Tatsuya Yatagawa, Hiromasa Suzuki (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The proposed method first estimates the build direction and then aligns the 3D print with the tool path along the build direction. Finally, each layer of the 3D print is aligned with its corresponding layer of the tool path in the horizontal direction. The alignment result can be confirmed through the slice view.
“Effect of vibratory mixing on the slump, compressive strength, and density of concrete with the different mix proportions“, Authors: Kaiyin Zhao, Lijun Zhao, Jinru Hou, Xiaobo Zhang, Zhongxu Feng, Shimin Yang (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The dispersion of vibration mixing on the cement particles increased the workability, uniformity, and density without decreasing the compressive strength of concrete. The effect of vibratory mixing is more significant for the slump of concrete with a high w/c ratio and compressive strength of concrete with a low w/c ratio.
“Mechanisms and Mechanics of Bonding in 3D Printed Materials Systems based on Traditional Mould Materials“, Authors: Solaman B. Selvaraj, Sarat Singamneni (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … There is a notable deviation could be observed comparing the compressive strength at three different states.
“Advanced 3D Textile Applications for the Building Envelope“, Authors: Claudia Lüling, Petra Rucker-Gramm, Agnes Weilandt, Johanna Beuscher, Dominik Nagel, Jens Schneider, Andreas Maier, Hans-Jürgen Bauder, Timo Weimer (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Frankfurt UAS’s projects demonstrate new options for sustainable, lightweight and highly functional building elements for the future.
“Promising Sustainable Models Toward Water, Air, and Solid Sustainable Management in the View of SDGs“, Authors: Islam A. Abdelhafeez, Seeram Ramakrishna (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … In line with the view of the 2030 SDGs, we proposed some sustainable models that provide strategic solutions to keep up the energy demand and prevent environmental damage.
“Acoustic Emission Monitoring of the Powder Bed Fusion Process with Machine learning“, MSc Thesis, by Mohammad Ghayoomi Mohammadi (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … this thesis suggested multiple machine learning algorithms for pattern recognition and classification with the goal of defect detection, such as detecting cracks and porosities.
“3D Printing in the Context of Cloud Manufacturing“, Authors: Jin Cui, Lei Ren, Jingeng Mai, Pai Zheng, Lin Zhang (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The research will provide a valuable theoretical and practical reference to the future development and deployment of 3D printing clouds, and promote a novel 3D printing business model in a service-oriented manner to achieve mass customization in Industry 4.0.
“Digital Technology in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry: Research trend and Practical Status towards Construction 4.0“, Authors: Kaiyang Wang, Fangyu Guo, Cheng Zhang, Jianli Hao, Dirk Schaefer (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … In this study, multiple databases were utilized to identify 65 technologies applied in the AEC industry. Based on the Scopus database, the top ten technologies that have been mostly researched from 2010 to 2021 are presented, including BIM, AI, 3D Printing, Machine Learning, IoT, GIS, VR, Big Data, Robotics and AR.
“Review on 3D Printing and its Applications in Engineering“, Authors: Priyank Kothari, Gaurav Parate, Chinmay Kulkarni, Nilakshi Soitkar, Girish Khot (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … Compared to the increasing sales every year, and 3D printing still under development, it cannot be considered as a substitute to the traditional methods, but for sure can be considered as a lending hand to the traditional methods. The skills required to carry out the processes must be addressed if people look at additive manufacturing as a replacement to the traditional methods. These skills are vital and should be nurtured, partnerships from universities and workshops and training programmes are one of the few ways to make sure that the skilled and talented group of people is built.
“Remote 3D Printing for the Integration of Clay-based Materials in Sustainable Architectural Fabrication“, Authors: Yomna K. Abdallah, Secil Afsar, Alberto T. Estévez, Oleg Popov (link), Chapter in the book “Renewable Energy for Mitigating Climate Change“
“Adaptive Concrete 3D Printing Based on industrial Robotics“, Author: Ruiming Hu (link), MSc Thesis
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … 6 FUTURE WORK AND RECOMMENDATIONS: “6.1 robot control” Real-time control (RTC) of industrial robot is able to update trajectory in real-time depending on the features of printed object which can reduce the errors that came from the difference between actual object and desired object. This process could be implemented by TCP or UDP communication protocol or robot control system (ROS) based on these to send motion instructions to the robot in real-time. Also, KUKA industry provides some add-on package on controller, such as robot sensor interface (RSI) or Ethernet KRL interface (EKI) to help customers to simplify this development process. This real-time control of industrial robot could help robot to complete basic pick-and-place task in manufacturing scenario based on a vision input. (L. Rogers, H. J. Vermaak, 2017) and even Human-robot physical interaction and collaboration (Milad Geravand, et al, 2013). Incomparison, it requires high response speed and accuracy in 3D printing scenario. As the result, the time delay between sending command and execution of robot need to be considered.
“Acoustic behaviour of 3D-printable cement mortarts functionalized with recycled tire rubber aggregates“, Authors: Matteo Sambucci, Marco Valente (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> … The viscoelastic nature of rubber aggregates enhances the material’s damping, resulting in lightweight cementitious compounds with improved sound insulation behaviour. In this regard, particles size gradation is crucial.
“Effect of A Novel Shrinkage-reducing Polycarboxylate Superplasticizer on Plastic Shrinkage Cracking of Mortars“, Authors: Jian Zhang, Yuefeng Ma, Haixin Zhao, Jiaping Liu, Zhangli Hu, Hua Li, Kangchen Wang, Lingzheng Wu (link)
“Effect of supplementary cementitious materials on viscosity of cement-based pastes“, Authors: Ivan Navarrete, Yahya Kurama, Nestor Escalona, Wernher Brevis, Mauricio Lopez (link)
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> .. The viscosity of the cementitious paste is more affected by the solid volume fraction, which is determined by the water-to-cementitious materials ratio, than by the properties of the cementitious particles. The interparticle force is a good predictor of the bonding strength of cementitious particles, and the combined effect of particle number density and solid volume fraction is a good estimator of the amount of contact points of this network, which explains most of the observed variability in the viscosity of cementitious paste. The viscosity of cementitious paste is more affected by the number of contact points between the cementitious particles than the interparticle force between them. The interparticle force is influenced by the surface roughness and sphericity of the cementitious materials.
“3D Printing/Addictive Manufacturing“, Author: Omoseni Adepoju (link), Chapter in the book “Re-skilling Human Resources for Construction 4.0”
Selected take-away key point (highlighted interesting point a.k.a. “why should you care“) –> .. For the construction industry to fully implement 3D printing, there is a need for reskilling and upskilling. Effective adoption of this technology requires both soft and technical skills. These include software designing, modelling, graphics, safety management, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, finishing and intellectual property protection.
Quote: According to UN-Habitat, an estimated 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing today, with global demand for affordable housing growing by 4000 units every hour. In order to reach more low-income households, Tvasta is working with the Government of India through its “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana” (Housing for All) initiative, which aims to build 20 million urban and rural homes for low-income families by 2022.
“Off-the-Shelf Bioplastic Helps 3D Print Geometric Shapes to Mimic Auxetic Materials” (link)
Quote: …the energy absorption would be corresponding to a thick reinforced composite protective render measuring around 20 mm over a full-scale building wall. This could possibly resist the impact force of a car traveling at 60 km/hour.
“Can startups build a better construction industry?” (link)
Quote: The key to success is usefulness: The construction industry is stubborn, Strupule says, so it’s vital for startups to base their businesses in real use cases and solutions that give concrete results. This also leaves room for new players to collaborate with corporates — as long as startups are ready to provide tangible results.
“Innovative 3D printed ‘fungi home’ and Apis Cor’s ‘IMpreza’ score big at architecture awards” (link)
Quote: Australian architecture firm Simulaa and Boston-based construction company Apis Cor have gained prestigious local awards for the innovative designs behind their latest 3D printed housing projects.
“The first 3D concrete printing scientific laboratory in the Baltics is opened, created by RTU in cooperation with Ltd. Sakret” (link)
“A First in Turkey! İmamoğlu Visited the Building Built with 3D Printer” (link)
Quote: Stating that İSTON has been conducting the study for a long time, İmamoğlu said, “Actually, we are talking about a very new application in terms of technology. A first in Turkey. Very precious and valuable. As someone who comes from this sector, I can feel that such a practice, such a fast manufacturing capability is very valuable.”
In a future (maybe even.. next?) iteration of our common journey/endeavor, I will be (potentially/tentatively) presenting *one* piece of scientific literature and *why* it is important for All (of Us) to know and apply… 3D Construction Printing-wise 🙂
A severe labor shortage and rapid urbanization have created a growing need for construction automation. Various tools and methods such as Digital construction, prefab, and 3DCP (3D Concrete Printing) are available for automating construction activities. These tools were invented decades ago, but 3D-Printed homes have become popular in recent years. Around the world, few builders are implementing 3DCP for the construction of houses and small buildings. Due to the cost of material and production issues, 3D printing houses is still not profitable. The public excitement has facilitated initial sales, but the early adopters are struggling to make an ROI (Return on Investment). This lack of profitability force prospective construction companies to turn away from the technology. A new technology to become mainstream, a critical adoption rate must be reached. If not, investments will dry out and the technology may get phased out. Construction automation is a pioneering field, there is no clear path to profitability. Most, if not all, early adopters of 3DCP are not making an ROI. The current automation practice is inefficient, process optimization could be a way to make 3DCP cost-competitive.
Automation was first introduced by the manufacturing sector, over the years various methodologies were used to improving the efficiency of automation. According to a 2020 McKinsey & company report, manufacturing productivity increased by 60% in last 25 years. It was the result of various improvements made in the process design (eg: Lean, SCM etc.) – robots are used for automating a process. As productivity increased, manufactured goods became cheaper. In contrast, construction productivity grew by 1% year over year for last two decades. The cost of construction is also going up. The current construction process is not compatible with automation. Since construction requires the coordination of different activities, automating it becomes complex. The construction automation companies often overlook the complex nature of the construction process. This is a reason for the high cost of 3D printed construction. Construction 3D printers are expensive, to make the initial investment worthwhile, utilization of the machines should be maximized. For this, the construction process should be optimized. There are various engineering methodologies available for optimizing processes. Systems engineering is a field of engineering that deals with the management of complex processes. System Approach is a methodology in systems engineering that can be applied to manage complex processes like construction.
System Approach to Automated construction
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycle. Some terminologies are;
System: A system is the set of principles or procedures according to which a process is done – the construction process is a system.
Sub-system: Individual elements of a system that work together to create the system
System Approach addresses one problem by considering the whole picture; the problem will be analyzed in its environment. The construction process (system) includes various activities (sub-systems) such as site work, foundation, MEP, and all other related jobs. Applying automation without considering the interfaces between these sub-systems makes the process more complex and costly. This is a major reason for the production issues faced by the early adopters of 3DCP. This article discusses the application of system approach for the development of a new construction procedure that leverages multiple automation techniques. 3DCP and prefab are two construction automation methods with complementing characteristics. A process that integrates the elements of both methods could be an optimized construction process. The management and control of such a process can be handled by leveraging digital construction tools. Integration of 3DCP, Prefab and digital construction into a single construction project will be a complex endeavor. Systems approach can be apt for developing this kind of complex process. Figure 1 illustrate the different phases of System Approach to 3DCP, in the following sections, the various phases are discussed in detail.
Figure 1: System Approach Phases
Analyze: Know your problem inside out
System Approach to automated construction is an orderly process that starts with an analysis phase. The main activity during this phase is conducting a comprehensive study on the construction process and automation techniques. The objective is to identify the opportunities for automation and predict its effects on the overall productivity of construction.
Implementation of new technology is challenging. To develop an automated construction process, the capabilities and limitations of the technology should be understood. The objective of the analysis phase is to collect as much information as possible. It will require deep and exhaustive research into problems and solutions. Some outcomes of analysis into 3DCP would be.
Different 3DCP machines and printing mixes will be compared on price and properties. This will help to identify the most economical and robust system that can be implemented.
Printing strategies like in-situ and print to assemble will be analyzed on their practical and economic benefits. The strategy with the best economics will be selected.
The effects of 3D- Printed wall systems on other related works such as MEP or Finishing will be studied, all possible challenges and available options will be listed out.
The above list is not comprehensive, the analysis will cover all topics related to the construction process. This comprehensive study will help to identify the complementarity of various practices and technologies. Building a house or other structures involves 3rd party inspections and permits. The data collected for the analysis phase will help educate the 3rd parties and authorities about the viability and security of the automation processes. More data will help to substantiate the claims in front of permitting/licensing authorities. By the end of the first phase, all stakeholders in a construction project and their interests will be identified. To improve productivity a collective effort of all stakeholders is necessary. System approach to construction automation is an attempt to bring process improvement by creating harmony between various activities on and off the construction field.
Design Phase: An overview of the solution
The analysis phase will be followed by a Design phase. During this phase, a construction process that utilizing automation will start to take shape. The specifications and scope of the process will be decided in this phase of system approach. The design of the system will contain the following elements.
The Objectives: Based on the information gathered during the analysis phase, the goals of the new system will be decided. It will be a high-level description, for example, the objective of the system can be constructing a custom-designed house in 6 weeks and at a cost 30% cheaper than to traditional process.
The process diagram: A high-level diagram showing major subsystems and the process flow. Process diagram will provide a system-level understanding of various interfaces in the system.
A brief description of the process: The design should contain a high-level description of the process and the inter-relations between various sub-systems. This description will be the written form of the process diagram. It should also mention the method of implementation.
Success factors: A criteria for evaluation of the process should be decided at this phase. The system must satisfy a set of minimum requirements to be considered viable. Success factors can be revisited at any point to evaluate the progression of the system approach.
By the end of the design phase, a rough picture of the final system will be generated. In the next phase, this high-level design will turn into a detailed construction procedure.
Develop: How to achieve the objectives?
In the development phase, a detailed construction process will be created; detailed procedure describing the start to finish of the construction process. The skeleton from the design phase will provide the guideline for this phase. Developing the system requires a wide range of expertise in various construction activities. The systems engineer should know about construction 3D printing, conventional construction, structural and architectural design, and all other activities. During this phase, all the details of the automated construction process will be finalized. The development process involves the following.
Selection of the technologies and machines required for the construction job.
Necessary licenses and contracts will also be secured.
Development of new construction practices – if required
Creation of the procedure for the construction process.
Identification of the risk factors in the process and risk mitigation measures.
Calculating all required resources and planning their allocation.
Creation of required standards and performance measuring criteria.
Creation of training for all the stakeholders.
People involved in the development process should have a broad knowledge of various construction automation techniques. The development team should be both optimistic and skeptical during the development process. The team should include a skeptic of construction automation. This will help to identify the risk factors in the process. As the development progress, the original design may get changed. The initial understanding of the technologies may change and goals will have to be adjusted. Developing a system consist of various technologies is demanding. The efficiency of workflow in such a system will depend on the smoothness of the interfaces between various subsystems. Achieving this smoothness is the primary function of system approach. A construction project can be finished in multiple ways, but to create profitability the process should be as efficient as possible. Things may not go as planned when implementing new technology, multiple iterations may be required to find the right way of doing things. Multiple validations and revisions should be carried out during the development phase; correcting a mistake during development is easier than doing it during implementation.
Implement: time to break the ground
In this phase, the plans created in the development phase will be excicuted. Even though this article is mainly discussing 3DCP, the scope of systems approach to automated construction includes everything from architectural design to completing the house. The first step in the implementation is implementing the required training. All the stakeholders should be capable to perform the respective duties at the efficiency required by the system design.
Innovative design is often overrated and the difficulties of producing the design are overlooked. Production phase is the most demanding phase of innovation. Similarly in the system approach, previous phases were just conducting research and making calculations. But during implementation, the plans should be executed according to the calculations. Even in conventional construction, it is hard to execute every aspect of the project according to the plan. Most construction projects will burn more cash than the initial budget. Unexpected delays and problems are the nature of building construction, during the implementation of new technology these problems can get worse. The efficiency of the system approach will be decided by the performance of the designed system during the implementation phase. The different automation tools such as 3DCP and Digital construction must perform in real-world conditions. One important thing is to make records of the actual performance of the construction process. The records are made for each activity and technology used in the process. This documentation is important for improving the System Approach. Even after extensive research and planning there is a good chance for the process to be flawed. The initial projects will testify for the efficacy of the system approach, failure to achieve the objectives are indication of mistakes in the previous phases. Since it is the early days of construction automation, the projects can be plagued with unplanned problems. If a building project cannot be finished as per the plan, the plans may have to be changed in the middle of the implementation phase. Finishing each project and handing over them to the customers should be the primary focus during the implementation phase. Corrections to the system will be made in the next cycle. Customer satisfaction is important for the proliferation of 3D-Printed houses.
Evaluate and improve
Systems approach to automated construction is a continuous process, with each project the construction process will get better. Evaluation of the process occurs at every point of the system approach. Before moving from one phase to the next, the performance and direction of the methodology will be evaluated. It helps to keep the focus of the system development process. By the end of the implementation phase, all the performance data of the system will be available. After the conclusion of the Implementation phase, a comprehensive evaluation of the system will be conducted to identify the root causes for the problems. Even if the system performance is satisfactory, an evaluation will search for improvement opportunities.
The last phase in the system approach is to adjust the construction process for improvements. Like evaluation, improvements can be made at every point of the system approach. There is a lack of examples for automated construction projects, only a few automated building projects have been completed. Each project is a learning opportunity, improvements will be made to the process each time a house is built. Initially, the improvements will be of noticeable magnitude but after dozens of projects, the process will get perfected. Eventually, standards and benchmarks will be created for construction automation. There is a huge gap between the effectiveness of automation in manufacturing and construction. For comparison, an average car can be built in 30 hours, but automated construction projects still take months to finish. If construction can reach vehicle manufacturing productivity, an average home be finished in few weeks. By using a system approach, the effectiveness of automation can be improved.
System approach can be applied to the whole construction industry, it will create new practices and tools by considering the whole picture. Implementing a system approach in the designing and manufacturing of 3D printers and related systems will create machines that can perform better in real-world applications.
More lessons from Manufacturing
Automation was created to improve the productivity of manufacturing plants. Today most of the manufacturing plants are fully automated. Industrial automation is a billion-dollar industry. When applying automation to the construction sector, the process improvement philosophies of manufacturing should not be neglected. Manufacturing processes are being improved continuously for increasing efficiency. Factories have come a long way from the automated spinning mills of the eighteenth century. Automated manufacturing has made products cheaper and factory floors safer. Over the years, various production philosophies such as Lean, Six-sigma, Toyota Production System, Kaizen, etc. were developed for optimizing the processes. On seeing the process efficiency in manufacturing, other industries adopted some of these methodologies for designing better processes.
The initial investment for automation is huge, to make ROI the machines should be in production mode as much as possible. At present, the construction automation machines are in a state of storage or idle for most of the time. Machines are made for operation, whenever a machine is not working it is not returning the investment. Construction is an old trade, the processes were designed for human labor. To construction automation profitable, the process must be made compatible for automating. A construction process that utilizes the 3D printers to the maximum extend has to be developed. The operation of such a process may require an entirely new supply chain. By utilizing the process optimization methodology the automated construction can be made more cost-competitive.
Automated construction methods such as prefabs and 3D printing are gaining popularity, mainly because of high home prices. Concrete 3D printing has proved its feasibility through various projects around the globe. However, 3D printing is still in a pioneering stage, many iterations and experiments are needed for perfecting this technique. The results of the 3D printing construction projects are promising a solution for the labor shortage in the construction industry. Today, industrial 3D printing is a common practice in prototyping, but construction 3D printing is still evolving as a viable technique for construction. Around the world startup companies are working to bring the technology to the mainstream. Because of the popularity for 3D printing in recent years, the companies overwhelmed with orders and inquiries. Many people are in line for a 3D printed construction project; at present the lead time on a project can even be over a year.
3D printing companies keep their numbers secret and sometimes make claims that are not even close to the actual numbers. In 2019 Business Insider published an article with a misleading headline “These 3D-printed homes can be built for less than $4,000 in just 24 hours” and many other media outlets echoed this unverified claim. The misleading news reports has helped to create public interest in the technology, but the true numbers can be demoralizing to many prospective adopters. At present, a 3D printed house will cost more to construct, and the process will take months to complete. This article discuss about different aspects of the construction 3D printing, to provide an insight into the capabilities and prospects of this technology.
The 4000 Dollar home?
Home prices in the US have reached the highest point in history, partially due to the increased cost of the material and labor. While labor is the biggest cost in construction, the industry is also facing a shortage of skilled labor. 3D printing can offset a portion of this labor shortage thus reducing the cost. But at present 3D printing construction can be significantly costlier than conventional construction techniques. A few 3D printed houses have been built around the country, and the actual cost of these projects is rumored to be anywhere from 140 percent to 300 percent of conventional construction. The cost can vary depending on the type of system and material being used. There are many factors contributing to this high price, the main components of a 3D printing cost are discussed below.
Material: 3D printing machines use engineered concrete mixes (ink) to create the desired structures. For a concrete mix to be a 3D printing ink the formability, consistency and curing properties should be within a defined range. Different companies like ICON, Apis-Cor, Mighty Buildings, etc. have developed their own proprietary inks for their own 3D printing machines. At present there is no fixed standard for these concrete mixes and companies are producing the material in batches for each project. There are no published numbers on the price or properties of these proprietary mixes, yet by analyzing the reported expense of 3D printing projects it is evident that the material can cost four times or more compared to regular concrete. This price of the material is the main reason behind the high price point of the 3D printing construction projects. Since the 3D printing concrete is a highly engineered concrete mix the price will never be lower than regular concrete, but in the future mass production can bring the cost down from the current point. If the price of ink falls to a comparable level to regular concrete, 3D printing construction can become cheaper than conventional construction.
Machines: Construction 3D printers are a system of computer-controlled machines used for placing the ink layer by layer. Currently there are only a few companies manufacturing 3D printers large enough to build houses; the price of these machines can run anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Apart from the gantry, or robotic actuator, there are other supporting systems such as material mixers, pumps, hoppers, nozzle assemblies, etc. needed for the printing operation. Some of these machines are more complex and sensitive than the gantry or the robot. The construction jobs may require additional machines like cranes, tractors etc. The total cost of all the machines needed for 3D printing a home can run into the millions. Because of the high demand and lack of competition, the price for these 3D printers remains high. Just like any machine, these early models are yet to prove their reliability and durability. A portion of the total price of machine and maintenance will be added to the total price of each project, but in the future more reliable and efficient models will bring this cost down.
Transportation: Transportation cost is the cost associated with moving the machines, materials and people involved in the construction process. Due to the shortage of printers, the machines need to be transported long distances. The transportation of the entire 3D printing system and materials can take many truck loads and larger printers will need cranes to move its massive parts around the work site. Sometimes the printing will require a tent, and in that case the tent will also need to be transported. This will increase the cost of construction, but as more printers and subsystems become available in the market the cost of transportation will be lowered.
Wastage: This factor is often overlooked. Getting a consistent 3D printing mix is still an art rather than science. A lot of factors can affect the consistency of the mix, and this consistency is important in making a high-quality wall. Before each project the team must do a lot of test prints to create the perfect mix for that specific job. The projects are not printed in one stretch either; all projects are printed in sections. Each time the machine starts, a lot of material is wasted in the process of setting the mix consistency for the actual printing. This wastage adds up to the tons by the end of the project. Due to the quick setting nature of the mix sometimes the material line can clog, and in that case the entire line needs to be flushed. Due to the high cost of materials, the cost of wasted mix will be significant, but as companies perfect their mixes and printing practices, the wastage in the process can be minimized.
Operational cost: Operational cost is the expense of running an operation. The operational cost for 3D printing construction comes from wages, energy bills, set up cost and other miscellaneous expenses. Human operators are required to ensure the accuracy and precision of the printing operation, as any unnoticed changes in any stage of the operation may have serious consequences. Today, most 3D printing jobs need more than one person to operate and monitor the entire system. Setting up is the process of getting the printer and other machines ready for the actual printing of the house. This process may require cranes, tractors, generators, waterlines, etc. Today, the operations in a 3D printing construction site are far from optimized and it will take many years of experience to achieve. As time progresses, more trained professionals and optimized operational procedures will bring higher efficiency.
Build a House in 24 hours?
Home construction is a long process; a lot of money and labor is involved in it for many months. Shortening the construction timeline will obviously reduce the total cost of construction. The ability to build a house in 24 hours would be momentous but that is not a practical goal. Some companies may have claimed to build a house in 24 or 48 hours, but they are talking about the actual print time of the wall’s construction. A project is more than just walls, and even the wall printing is parted into sections. The total printing process taking one or two weeks to finish, and many test prints need to be completed before that. Because each layer of material will require a curing time to achieve the strength to carry the weight of the layers on top of it. After the walls are cured, other works need to be carried out to finish the project. Therefore, no 3D printed construction project can be or was finished in 24 hours.
3D printing has the potential to reduce the time for constructing the walls of the home. After the walls are installed, conventional roofing, electrical, plumbing and finishing processes need to be done. By 3D printing the walls the total time of the project can be reduced, but the total time will still be over a month. Reducing the time to build a home will increase the availability of homes, thus reducing the price.
The 3D printing operation is sensitive to environmental conditions, therefore variations in temperature and humidity will impact the timeline of the project. The printing mixes are optimized for a specific temperature and humidity level. A change in the specified climate conditions will negatively impact the quality of the print. For this reason, in most cases the actual printing had to be limited to a certain time of the day. And printing is impossible during a raining if it is not done inside a tent. Printing inside a tent can produce better quality walls, but it is obviously much more expensive.
What will happen to construction workers?
Labor is the biggest expense in construction. The labor shortage is increasing the cost of labor year by year. In this situation automating the construction processes is important to make affordable housing a reality. Construction is the only main industry that hasn’t seen any significant automation, and 3D printing is one way to automate to construction. 3D printing is not capable of offsetting all the manual labor, people are required for different procedures before during and after the 3D printing process. During the printing operation, people are required for inserting reinforcement, insulation, rough wiring, and plumbing, etc. After finishing the walls, roofing, flooring, and other finishes are to be done conventional contractors.
For every replaced job, automation will create more sophisticated jobs in the technology sector. Development of automated construction will create jobs for printer operators and robotic manufacturers. It will also open more research and development jobs in material science, software development etc. 3D printing construction is in a state like the industrial robots of the 1980s; today all factories are automated to different degrees, and the conditions are prefect for construction industry to adopt automated construction techniques.
A Dream come true for Architects
High cost of construction was always a limiting factor in architectural innovations in building designs. Architects usually come up with innovative shapes in their designs, but the cost of making the curved structures make the designs financially impossible. The advent of 3D printing is promising a new future for architectural design. 3D printing can make curved walls as easy as straight walls. Due to structural issues and code restrictions, 3D printing companies are taking baby steps in bringing this change into new construction. However, curved rooms will soon be a norm in the 3D printed homes. This architectural freedom can easily bring more innovative designs to no-permit required structures such as planters, firepits etc.
At present, the print mixes have similar properties to concrete; they are good with compression and poor with tensile loads. Therefore, rebar is inserted into the concrete. Developing new materials can change this, if a company come up with a 3D printing ink that can perform under tensile load it can ultimately accelerate the construction 3D printing technology.
The permit and code rules have some restrictions in place to protect the aesthetics of a neighborhood. But these restrictions were formalized before the advent of 3D printing technology as the technique mature the governing authorities will eventually adopt the new rules and standards. This is a field that need some focus from the companies involved in this industry. Engineering and architectural standards needs to be developed for 3D printing construction.
Construction is an essential process, with significant ecological effects. Sustainable housing is a long-sought achievement and 3D printing may be capable of making it a reality. Material scientists around the globe are working to develop an eco-friendly 3D printing mix. Construction is one of the largest CO2 producers, making the construction more sustainable will solve a lot of environmental issues.
At present most of the 3D printing mixes are cement-based. Cement is not an eco-friendly substance. Nevertheless, 3D printing is better for the environment because of the decreased waste of the raw materials. Good amount of research is dedicated towards creating alternative materials for construction. Recently, Omlab a Netherland based startup was successful in developing a bio-degradable 3D printing ink for construction. Wasp, an Italian startup has 3D printed a structure using soil and straw. If the researchers can produce an eco-friendly ink with similar properties of cement-based mixes, it can create a huge impact in the industry’s sustainability goals. 3D printing can also eliminate many intermediate steps in the construction process that will also reduce emissions and pollution.
All structures around us are overbuild, most of the material being used is for ease of construction rather than for structural integrity. 3D printing can reduce material usage by creating complex shapes for perfect load transfer. Today most structures are made as filled blocks, and most of the material in the structure is not required for its designed structural properties. By using 3D printing the required amount of material can be placed where it is required. This way, some structures can save up to 70% of material; it will have a positive effect on the price and sustainability of the buildings.
Concrete is fire-resistant in nature and using concrete instead of wood can reduce the risk of fire. This can result in lowered insurance cost. Concrete is also not susceptible to termites and other insects, resulting in lowered maintenance cost. Concrete, compared to wood, also has superior strength. Because of the strength the damages caused by natural disasters or adverse climate phenomenon will be minimal, saving a lot of money in damage repairs.
3D printing construction is here, and the technology has proven its ability to revolutionize the construction industry for the better. Despite some claims about the price of 3D printed homes being clickbait, the claims were generated popularity for the technology. By nature, 3D printed homes are better in many ways to conventional houses, but a lot of research and development must be done to unveil its full potential. The technology is growing at a fast pace, trying new techniques and materials. Soon, 3D printers will be a regular sight on construction sites. Innovative startups are racing to capture the once in a century opportunity. There are dozens of companies coming up with different types of materials and techniques to improve the quality and sustainability of concrete 3D printing. Despite the present cost of materials and machines being very high, the tipping point is not far away. By the end of this decade, fully automated 3D printing could be a common practice.
Everyone always asks how can 3D printed concrete be better for the environment? Here is a potential solution! Traditional 3D printed concrete (can I say that yet?) uses a very high portion of cement in the mix compared to regular concrete that would get poured in a formwork. Omlab asks the question, How can we get all the benefits of 3d printed construction (Labor reduction, form freedom, speed) without harming the environment?
This startup in the Netherlands is changing the way concrete impacts the environment. By developing a new mixture that has similar structural properties to concrete without the harmful environmental side effects, Omlab wants to change the long term implications of construction for good.
I got to meet with founders Margreet Van Uffelen & Huub Looze to get a tour around their facility seeing their printer and past prints. They shared the origin story of Omlab along with their vision for where the company will go in the future. Right now they are very much in the research and startup phase perfecting their mix, print methods, and curing strategy.
The material is 90% calcium removed from drinking water. A small portion is cellulose taken from sanitized toilet paper from the sewage processing plant and they also use a bio polymer binder kamera rich in proteins.
This mixture is completely biodegradable and actually promotes many types of life because of the high calcium concentration. One may ask how can a biodegradable material be used in construction outdoors? The solution is a weatherproof coating. The best part is once it cures it resembles concrete very closely not only in looks but also strength. Omlab is now undergoing strength testing to evaluate the real world potential of this product.
The biggest upcoming project for Omlab is a public toilet 3d printed with their material that they have already developed a 1:10 scale model of. If the project is successful it will be the first 3d printed building made in a sustainable environmentally friendly way. That is a big achievement and a nice step in the right direction, the next step will need to be scaling it up in a cost effective way. Regardless of the current costs, it is so important that people keep experimenting with the materials used in construction particularly for construction automation. Material science is more advanced than it had ever been in the past.
Materials at the moment has the potential to be the holy grail of 3d printing because if someone developed a printable concrete at the same cost as regular concrete, all the sudden all these companies with construction 3d printers would be able to complete their construction projects at a lower price than traditional construction. There are many other ways the cost benefits can be achieved but it seems to me a materials development would be the fastest way.
Omlab is quite open and they are great people, you should reach out to them and learn more about their materials. 3D printed construction companies should work with Omlab to figure out what it takes to extrude their solution from gantry and robotic arm systems.
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While in the Netherlands, I visited CyBe construction. With their robotic arm mortar printing system, CyBe has completed projects around the world with many more underway from their various clients/partners.
The training was a 2 week event starting with just learning the basics and watching the very experienced CyBe team operate the robotic arm they have in the facility. By the end of the first week I was beginning to assist with prints lead by my trainer Marc. The second week we went to France Sunday-Thursday to visit Lille University and a 3D printed guardhouse in La Havre which I filmed a tour of with CyBe CEO Berry Hendriks while we were there.
After the France excursion there were 2 days left of training before my final exam to earn the Basic Operator Certificate. On Friday of the first week I was feeling pretty confident with the system but after spending 4 days away from the machine I certainly felt a bit rusty coming back. I had gained some confidence with the equipment after the first week but hadn’t yet built nearly the true muscle memory level of operation exhibited by Marc, Yop, Alwin, and Jeremy.
I decided that I would live stream my Basic Operator Final Exam on YouTube to give my subscribers an insight to the 3D printed construction world that they otherwise may not have been able to access. In the month since I filmed that live stream it has already accumulated over 50,000 views with an average watch time of 20 minutes so relative to my small channel it was a big success and something I will try to do again in the future.
The test was going to be a wall element from a building that was designed by a company in Japan. 5 of these identical wall units are organized in a circle which makes up the small round building. The curvature of the walls mean the base is significantly smaller in surface area than a slice of the middle segment meaning there will be overhang in the layers and considerations of balance are critical to keeping the printed concrete upright while it prints and cures.
There are some things that need to happen pre print to ensure a safe and productive environment. Ideally you don’t want to print concrete directly on concrete because removing it afterwards could pose a challenge that could damage the print. A couple simple sheets of cellophane can prevent the concrete material from sticking to the slab. Another strategy often employed by CyBe is constructing a small platform out of pallets to print on. Once you have your print area set up you can start your first layer test. During the first layer test make sure the extruder remains in the print area. After the first layer move on to the rest of the print in auto mode so that you don’t need to keep your hand on the controller. It’s generally recommended to keep people out of the print area but for some prints it’s critical to remove portions of the material which requires humans being near the print. By running a full dry test you can be confident there are no rogue points on the print path that would send the printer in a random, potentially dangerous direction.
The mortar material used by CyBe is a differentiating factor of this company because instead of using accelerator additives they use retarder to actually slow the hardening rate of their material. The dry mix has so much accelerant in it that this retarder is required to prevent the material from hardening to quickly. At ideal levels, the material is nearly completely solid after the 5th or 6th printed layer. This adjustment is done at the mixer which is one of the most critical components of the print process. The mixer is where the dry mix, water and additive come together and get combined thoroughly in the rotor-stator before entering the hose which leads directly to the extruder head of the printer. Adjusting the retarder levels is critical because depending on factors like the length of the hose, time between layers, ambient temperature, humidity ect… you may want to raise or lower the levels to accommodate the circumstances you are printing in.
Starting the mixer flow is somewhat of an art if you just turn it on and leave it then you are bound to cause a clog. The key is to start the water flow and the additive at an even higher level than final print values and slowly start introducing the material which only mixes at one constant speed (for my purposes). You start in 10 second intervals leaving the dry mix pump on for 1 second and off for 9 then on for 2 and off for 8 and so on until you are on for 9 seconds off for 1 at which point you can just leave it on completely. After the material is fully flowing you can reduce the water levels and the additive levels until the mix is satisfactory for printing. You know the material is dialed in right when it begins stacking slightly from the extruder head. Another great test is to use a spatula to get one small length of printed material. When it is ready, the material will stick to the spatula even upside-down, you will also feel a slightly firm ‘core’ if you poke the material with your finger.
When the concrete slabs that make up the floor of the CyBe facility were built, they didn’t have robotic arms precisely extruding concrete so the slab that we were printing on was slightly uneven maybe by +-1cm initially this gave me some concern but the CyBe team assured me it would not cause a print failure. The trick on the first layer is to slow down the machine a bit. The material is always extruded at a constant pace so if you slow down the robotic arm you end up with a thicker line of more material, this thicker layer allows for more margin of error on the print bed and gives a nice base to print the next layer on. The ABB robotic arm is of course extremely precise so after that thicker first layer compensates for any irregularity in the print area every layer after that will be precisely the height it was programmed to be (Usually 12.5cm)
Printing is actually the easy part. If everything was done properly for the setup and material qualities the only thing left is cutting away any sections of the print you wish to leave open and keeping the mixer full of dry material. In the CyBe facility they were using 25kg bags of concrete but with a large silo jumbo bags (1.2T) of concrete can be loaded in to further reduce the human labor input required. During the print someone should water down the
After the print comes the cleaning process. This is a critical step of anything involving concrete especially when it is so fast to harden. Cleaning off the wet material is much easier than trying to pry off the rock chucks of concrete after it becomes solid so you want to do this part quickly and CyBe does. Their system mixes the additive in at the mixer rather than the extruder head so 90% of the cleaning process is done at the mixer which simply involves flushing out the hose with tiny sponge balls then replacing the mixing iron with the cleaning iron and running water through the mixer until all of the sediment from the concrete mix leaves the machine. Overall the cleaning process takes about 10-15 minutes which is notably shorter than the competitors that I’ve seen granted it is a smaller machine.
I have to say I was very impressed by the lack of cracking in the CyBe prints, Nearly every 3d printed building I’ve seen in the world has some aesthetic non structural cracks but I didn’t see these in the CyBe prints. Being able to hose down the material so quickly after the print goes a long way in controlling the temperature of the concrete as it cures. Keeping the temperature under control significantly reduces the risk of cracking. Another unique factor of CyBe is the sponging process they use to smooth their prints. As mentioned earlier, the material cures within 5-6 layers but within that range the layers are still somewhat wet and malleable so manually brushing over them with a sponge can fill in the layer pattern resulting in a completely smooth wall.
I was the first person to receive training as an individual rather than a team but I did have 2 CyBe employees assisting me with parts of the print because it generally requires a team of 3 to operate the printer. When everything is going well it’s mostly just standing around, after a year or two of experience it’s even possible to operate the printer solo but with so much going on and little margin for error it’s much safer to use a team. I certainly made a few mistakes, most notably in the beginning I didn’t turn on the water flow on the mixer and while we were calibrating the material component values I let the mixer run empty forgetting to add more material. Luckily this all happened prior to the print. I also left the water heater off but that didn’t cause any issues although it would have gone better at the right heated values, that may be why dialing in the material in the beginning was a bit tricky. You can watch the whole thing with all raw footage from the live feed on my YouTube channel. I managed to get through printing the entire 2.5m wall unit without anything coming up that would detriment the print. At the end of the print I was awarded my Basic Operator Certification.
Learning to operate a concrete printer felt like a bit step on my journey around the world researching construction automation technology. I had spent over a year researching everything I could find publicly available on the internet but the knowledge acquired from actually making a print happen from start to finish is a completely new level for me. I hope to continue to expand my skillset and learn the operation of other printers. I have learned so much from this experience I think it will be even easier for me to learn how to operate the next one because so many factors are similar especially when it comes to the mixer and the controller which have been very similar with some unique differences at each site I’ve visited. Most of these differences in the mixer are due to the lack of functionality in the off the shelf mixer pump systems currently available on the market. The available equipment is designed for different use cases that are less precise so the units require after market modifications by the companies operating the printer yielding differences between competitors.
The debate between robotic arms and gantry systems for 3d printing on the construction site rages on. I can say without a doubt both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. You can’t truly identify one as superior unless you clearly define a particular project. Robotic arms can’t make monolithic structures larger than their print area but for many applications you don’t wan’t a monolithic structure anyway. When you have to move the printer that is certainly much easier with a robotic arm rather than a gantry system that must be assembled every time. This is something we discussed on an episode on the Automated Construction podcast below.
I certainly expect great things from CyBe in both the near and extended future. They are a nimble and efficient organization considering many verticals trying to make 3D printing mainstream on the construction site. For more information on their technology check out CyBe.eu you can also schedule a call with me to discuss which printer would best suit your project via jarettgross.youcanbook.me make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and consider leaving your email here on my website so that on the rare occasion (so rare it’s never happened yet) that I send something out to my email list you don’t get left out.
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While in Europe I had the pleasure of visiting Vertico 3D and their founder Volker Ruitinga. Volker was my first podcast guest via zoom so it was particularly special to visit his facility and record a second podcast in person while visiting Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Those who listened to the first podcast episode remember Volker came from the automobile industry which helped him procure a robotic arm from his old company.
Vertico specializes in parametric design, you’ll see how many different textures they have explored with let me know in the comments if one sticks out as your favorite in particular, I’m sure Vertico would like the feedback as well. They have come a long way since then, currently using no parts from the original system. They’ve upgraded the robot, the pumps, mixing system and even added a silo. In the early days Vertico was hand mixing their concrete in buckets now they load in 1.2 ton concrete bags at a time!
At the Vertico facility they’ve kept many of their old and early prints which gives an excellent timeline of their progress featured in the video below. Volker was kind enough to openly discuss some of the early failures and issues they ran into providing some insight to the daily challenges of a tech startup.
While visiting, I also got the chance to play with some of the parametric design tools vertico has built in the Grasshopper plugin of Rhino. In about 10 minutes I was able to create a printable design and I filmed the process along with the print to be released on youtube later this week. (see below)
Not only did they print my design but also the inverted version of my design, a 2.5m tall column(with a way cooler design than mine) and then the same column but inverted. There was also a 5th print in the same row but that one is confidential, details will be released when the project is ready. The second print had some slight slump causing some inconsistency in the print but Volker was able to very carefully adjust the speed of the printer to compensate for the area which had suffered from the slump to recover the print in about 5 layers. The print was able to reach the last layer without a stoppage.
For those wondering why the lighting is so unique, Vertico shares a warehouse (protected by the historical society) with another startup growing produce/vegtables in tandem with fish in a hydroponic ecosystem.
If you like the designs by Vertico go on their website vertico.xyz and make an inquiry, they may even be willing to help bring your idea to reality. Keep in mind they are located in Europe, specifically Eindhoven, the Netherlands so shipping may be a significant expense if you aren’t located nearby.
In May I had the incredible opportunity to visit with Cobod in Copenhagen Denmark at their headquarters and manufacturing facility. Regular viewers of my platform will be familiar with Cobod from my videos with Printed Farms in Florida where they built Floridas first 3D printed building, a 30×30 garage.
Cobod has sold many printers globally and their current system, the BOD 2 offers many improvements and upgrades from their previous BOD 1 system. Notable clients of Cobod include GE, L&T construction, Kamp C Peri, Printed Farms, and many more. Peri is not just a client but also an early investor of Cobod and a licensed distributor of the printing system. Of all the users of the Bod 2 system Peri has completed the most prints, the largest prints, and the most innovative prints including a 5 bedroom building in Beckum, Germany and a 5 unit apartment building in Wallhausen, Germany both of which I had the chance to visit during my time in Europe and I was quite impressed. Not only did I get to visit these projects but I also was able to tour them with the head architect from Mense-Korte who designed the 5 bedroom house and a co-owner of Rupp construction, the owner/developer of the 5 unit apartment building. These videos can be seen below along with my visit to Kamp C in Belgium where they printed the first 2 story building in Europe with a team of students. I also did a video of the Bod building near the Cobod facility showcasing the design with architect Alma Bangsgaard Svendsen.
The BOD 2 is a modular gantry system that can get quite large. This system allows for onsite or offsite printing. Depending on location and size the printer takes about 4 hours to set up and take down requiring a crane or all terrain forklift to lift each module into place. Operating the system is quite similar to a typical 3D printer and the team at Printed Farms was able to learn enough to complete their 30×30 garage through only virtual training.
The Cobod team was quite welcoming, all the employees seem very excited to be working on such revolutionary technology and are quite passionate about their work. While staying with Cobod they also had a materials PHD named Nikolaos Katsiotis visiting from Greece, it was great getting his perspective on the materials side of the concrete printing world as well.
I was interested to hear from Fabian Meyer-Brötz that the printed apartment building in Wallhausen was very well received by the community. I have had a lingering fear that some people would not appreciate the modern design or printed layers simply because it is different, historically people have been afraid of change but in the case of these 3D printed houses that does not seem to be the case. Most marvel at the exciting prospects the technology offers in the form of automation. Even the contractors working for Rupp seemed very excited to be working on such an innovative project despite most of their construction activities being similar to a typical job site. In the 5 unit apartment building people were so excited to work on the project that subcontractors and furnishing companies offered their services and products without cost just for the sake of having their work showcased in a futuristic project. Neither Bekum nor Wallhausen was particularly known for being futuristic so if the projects were so well received in those cities then I would imagine there will be similar reactions all over the world.
The excitement over these projects can’t last forever but it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. There is still so much discovery to do in terms of what construction automation technology is capable of and every project yields new opportunities and learning experiences that will contribute to the improvement of buildings to come. Everyone I’ve talked to who contributed to building a 3D printed concrete structure always has the perspective that future projects will be substantially more efficient both in terms of time, material usage, and cost. The first projects have a learning curve, both Mense-Korte and Peri had the impression that if the same buildings were to be printed again they would be somewhere between 10% and 20% more efficient than the first try. That margin of improvement will continue to get better as everyone involved advances on the learning curve. Stay posted because there are some super impressive Cobod projects underway that I will be visiting once I return back to the United States!
I’ve recently put out a video on my YouTube channel about the most innovative 3D printed house in the world. Of course every 3D printed house at this stage of the industry is innovative but the consideration in design and architecture that went into this project demonstrates a new level for digital fabrication of shelter.
Mense-Korte is the architecture firm behind this project and COBOD manufactured the 3D printer that was used by the general contractor PERI. There was certainly an extensive education process to clearly illustrate the capabilities of the concrete printer to the architects. Mense-Korte brought outside the box thinking and detail oriented German engineering to the table. The longstanding debate of offsite vs onsite printing has been answered on this project that marries the benefits of both to compensate for some of the limitations of 3D printing concrete, mostly the fact that it can’t print in mid air. By printing certain components off site they were able to add overhangs and other features that couldn’t be printed in mid air on site.
Other features of the building like a bath and a fireplace were also 3D printed into the building. There is a vast universe of unexplored potential implementing this technology and this project goes further than any other into new territories. As architects and construction firms figure out what should and should not be printed the efficiency of this technology is increasing even if we ignore improvements to the hardware or software itself.
The on site portion of this project was done with a protective tent like structure around the building. A protective layer around the printer can make it much easier to maintain consistent temperature and humidity parameters, also mitigating any wind. Creating an environment in homeostasis makes the print process much smoother in terms of printed line aesthetics and the concrete cures stronger under optimal conditions which can be achieved in a closed environment. The real question is whether or not the benefits of the tent are worth the added expense. For this project it was because it is meant to showcase the state of the art in its best form. Other outdoors projects can have post processing like manually applied stucco or even alternative print heads COBOD has developed to give a smooth finish to the concrete.
I believe architecture and design is one of the biggest missing links when it comes to implementing this technology on a massive scale and Mense-Korte is off to a great start. As more firms educate themselves on the possibilities of 3D printed construction we will only see better and better designs at increasing levels of efficiency. One of the most important areas this is happening is within the MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing) systems. Making considerations for these things in advance means the printer can intentionally leave spacing where need be as opposed to cutting holes in drywall later on in the process.
As this technology becomes more advanced ancillary products will emerge that take advantage of the layer by layer strategy 3D printers use. Every aspect of the home must be rethought and optimized for printing, things like electrical and plumbing should simply be placed where they belong at the proper stage of the print along with and reinforcement. This method could eliminate almost all the heavy lifting on the construction project besides the roof.
For the latest updates on the best 3D printed construction projects happening around the world make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel at the link below
Relativity space is a 5 year old startup that just closed a $500 million dollar D round of funding. We are going to take a look at their 3D printed rocket engines and hear from CEO Tim Ellis along with critical employees Karin Kuo, David Lemier, Ryan Quinn, and Drew Hess.
3D printing offers a familiar yet unique set of benefits in engine manufacturing. Most notably interior features can be highly customized in comparison to the limited capabilities of CNC. Intricate AI generated interior structures can even reduce the weight of the engine which increase fuel efficiency.
Relativity Space has been scaling up quickly and now aims to produce 1 engine per week. They have come a long way still pursuing their initial vision. I suspect it will not be long before shares of Relativity hit the public markets.
Some say simplicity is the penultimate goal of good engineering. Any software engineer will tell you more code doesn’t equal good code. The best can achieve more with less. Relativity space brings this principal into the hardware sector seeking to drastically reduce parts required for rockets built to reach outer space.
The traditional model of building rockets involves high precision CNC subtractive manufacturing. Imagine an enormous block of metal chiseled into a desired rocket form, the biggest flaw in this method is inability to control interior features of the unit without post production processing and welding. Founder Tim Ellis realized in 2016 that 3D printing could eliminate the many flaws of CNC in rocket manufacturing, reducing waste and speeding up launch dates. Most importantly he realized nobody else was doing it!
With a cold call to Mark Cuban, Relativity raised an initial $500k seed round.
Through 2017 an additional $9.5M was raised in the A round.
March 27th, 2018 closed $35M B round.
October 1st, 2019 closed a $140M C round.
As of November 23rd, 2020 they have closed a 500M D round of funding led by Tiger Global Management with participation from new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Baillie Gifford, ICONIQ Capital, General Catalyst, XN, Senator Investment Group, and Elad Gil. Existing investors participating in the round include BOND, Tribe Capital, K5 Global, 3L, Playground Global, Mark Cuban, Spencer Rascoff, and Allen & Company LLC, among others.
Part of the company vision is people beginning to occupy space with their technology. According to CEO Tim Ellis everything in space will need to be 3D printed.
The Terran 1 is the payload rocket being developed by Relativity Space. A dedicated mission can be purchased for a cool $12M which can accommodate 1,250kg payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or 950kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The rocket is 115.4 ft tall with a 7.5 ft diameter. The first stage occupies 55.7 of the vertical ft with 9 Aeon 1 engines for a total of 228,600 lbf-vac fueled by liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen. The second stage is smaller, only 37.4ft tall with a single Aeon Vac Engine.
As mentioned earlier the Aeon engines are 3D printed reducing the total parts required for a spacecraft engine to under 1,000 as opposed to the 100,000+ part engines used in the past. Any time you can reduce parts required by magnitudes the savings are immense. This strategy is similar to an approach Tesla has been claiming to aim towards for a long time. Currently cars are made of a ton of different parts, Tesla aims to use injection molding to build an entire car chassis in one shot. The cyber truck utilizes steel origami for its structural one piece internal/external frame. Relativity space uses 3D printing because it allows customizability between engines. They can easily make slight modifications which will maximize efficiency for any particular mission. Further missions with heavier payload have different demands than small low earth orbit satellites.
The 3D printer they developed for rocket printing purposes is called Stargate. It is a robotic arm that 3D prints a custom metal alloy.
At this exciting stage of the technology it is certain many efficiencies and new strategies are being realized on a regular basis. With their recent $500M round of funding they will certainly accelerate space travel. Having already partnered with NASA, who knows which space spheroid they’ll be printing on next.
Recently I had the pleasure of having Ali Mustafa on the automated construction podcast to talk about his involvement as project manager on the Biggest 3D printed building in the world which was built in Dubai. This Large 10,000 sqft building set the Guinness world record for the biggest 3d printed building back in 2017, a record which has not been beaten since.
The project was completed using an apis cor printer operated by 3 people on site.
Many people are aware that Dubai has outwardly spoken about an initiative to increase the use of 3D printing in construction. Because of this expressed interest, there are now a handful of buildings in Dubai constructed using 3d printing.
Dubai has so much innovative construction pushing the limits of engineering. The well known Burj kalifa is the tallest building in the world. The speed at which the city of Dubai rose from the desert shows the speed at which they build and Ali believes that 3D printing will accelerate the building process further.
You may be wondering how such a small printer can build such a large building. The key lies in its manageable size. It is a small unit that does not require tedious assembly on site unlike the larger gantry style printers. This unit functions like a robotic arm extending its nozzle from a central point. Need to build bigger than its radius? No problem. Simply move the printer to the next point on the build and resume printing.
Apis Cor is currently working on a project in Louisiana where they are hoping to complete 2 big firsts. If successful, their project will be the first regularly permitted building in America and also the first 2 story 3D printed house in America. All the other 3D printed houses currently completed in America have had special circumstances around them making their construction possible. Once there is a precedent in the permitting system it will become significantly easier to win permits in the future. Many potential buyers are dissuaded by the concept of 3D printing a building because they fear the permitting issue, once more projects have been completed that fear will dwindle down and the industry will move into a more mature stage.
During the construction process Apis Cor will be doing an instructional workshop on printer operation for companies that have put a $3000 down payment on the Apis Cor printer. The potential for an event like this is exponential because the number of people with a deep understanding of the tech will drastically increase. At this point, education is one of the most critical aspects of growing the automated construction space. The most fun part of my job is being surrounded by brilliant forward thinking risk takers. Everyone involved in the construction innovation revolution shares a common willingness to challenge the status quo and tackle the most critical issues head on.
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I finally got the chance to talk with Henrik Lund Neilsen the CEO and Founder of COBOD. After automation caught his interest, Henrik personally went on a world tour of 35 3D printing companies that he was able to compare and contrast in his pursuit of bringing this technology to a bigger scale in the construction industry. After this grant funded journey, COBOD emerged with the BOD and eventually BOD 2 concrete 3D printer.
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COBOD has a unique value proposition for their customers seeking to gain a competitive edge in the construction industry. 3D printing addresses the labor shortage in the construction industry that makes some regions very expensive to build in. On top of that, speed and reliability are two major advantages 3D printing can offer as well. Construction is multifaceted with each facet behaving slightly differently depending on location. In some regions of the world labor is cheap but the people may be unreliable, other areas the labor can be 10x more expensive and even more unreliable! Long term automation and technology offer a solution to the reliability problem. Construction automation seeks to mend the reputation of over budget over schedule construction projects that the world has become so used to. If you’ve got a contractor that always sticks to the schedule don’t loose their number any time soon there is still a ways to go before 3D printing is ubiquitous.
Henrik ensures that any modifications to the printer will be made retroactively available for existing customers. This is a strategy shared by another 3D printing company ‘Prusa’. It is a relief to see some construction 3D printing companies taking notes from the forward thinking printing companies rather than the traditional printer models where the profit is all in the ink. Unlike many other companies COBOD chooses to be material agnostic without a restrictive warrantee.
Without going into too much detail, Henrik told me they have developed a ‘magic’ material that can make regular concrete buildable. This method requires 1% additional material added to the regular mix. Unlocking the solution to a more affordable buildable concrete will have an enormous impact on the economic feasibility of 3D printed concrete.
Henrik wanted to stress the importance of scale when printing concrete. There is benefit to allowing more time between layers so when you are using a tiny 3’x 3’x 3’ concrete printer then you may only have 30 seconds between each layer. Scaling up to 40’x 50’ + yields significantly more space to print thus increasing time to complete each layer ultimately makes the entire process more efficient. Some projects take longer than others, we briefly discussed how some projects aimed for a 24 hr print time whereas others choose to spend months on a print in order to academically dissect and observe the process. Like every person I’ve spoken to pioneering this novel industry, Henrik is not shy to admit progress and improvements are being made with every build. Very soon larger multifamily developments will test the potential of automation and if they demonstrate favorable economic viability we’ll start to see similar projects pop up all over the world.
SQ4D has developed their own concrete 3D printer. As you can see from my first video below at one of their builds, their printer is a collapsible gantry system on rails. It is very unique because of its ability to mechanically collapse itself for ease of transport and disassembly. They do not publicly disclose whether or not this printer is for sale but they have boldly become the first company to publicly list a 3D printed house for sale. They were able to do so because the permits for the building have been granted by the local municipality. The biggest accomplishment will be an Occupancy Certificate that will be granted after all of the inspections have been passed during the construction process. There are a few companies actively pursing the first Occupancy Certificate for a 3D printed house so the race is on to see who is able to complete construction with a passing grade first.
Almost a year ago I was able to find the location of an experimental 3D printed house that was under construction by SQ4D. That 1,900 sqft home evidently only cost them $6000 in materials according to their website sq4d.com which seems incredibly affordable. It is very possible that they have gone back to the drawing board since that build to make improvements to the material which could potentially drive up the price by multiples. Overall 41% of the construction was done by the ARCS 3D Printer they developed which led to an overall savings of 30%. Generally speaking a new product should be at least 25% better than the incumbent solution so this 30% reduced cost prediction bodes very well for the future of the industry.
I’ve visited this project a few times as they made progress on the build. The concrete walls were done before I got there, it was the manual labor (Roof, Windows, Doors, Gutter, Siding) that took the longest. Last time I was inside I saw that some of the walls had been smoothed out with concrete to give the interior a flat finish. For many people, the ability to hide the fact that the home was printed makes it much more appealing although personally I appreciate the raw nature of the exposed concrete.
Their newest project to be constructed is a 1,500 sqft 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house. SQ4D is offering a 50 year limited warrantee on the build which is incredible considering that it is the first time a 3D printed house has ever been listed for sale. It is certainly understandable for a buyer to be wary of a new technology so this warrantee is a very important demonstration of SQ4D taking accountability for their work which helps the pioneering buyer be more confident in their decision. The home will also feature a 750 sqft 3D printed garage to match.
List price has been set to $299,000. According to zillow the average home in this neighborhood is worth $394,000 so it is very likely the house will sell over list price especially in the current housing market where the supply has been low and prices have been increasing.
It will be very interesting to follow along this project as SQ4D makes history. 0 to 1 is the hardest step in an emerging industry, it is a sure sign of some very exciting builds to come. It is very challenging for people to get out there and be the first in anything but after the first bushwhacking pioneers make it through the rough patches early adopters start to pour in. As exposure and footprint of this technology increases so will its capabilities. Economies of scale will make this already cost saving technique vastly more efficient as competition increases on all fronts, hardware, software and material. If you’d like to stay up to date on what I learn about this industry, subscribe on YouTube or the email list on www.automate.construction.
Printed farms is a construction start up that has recently purchased the first COBOD BOD 2 printer in America. This gantry style system has been seen in Europe and was used by Kamp C to build a 2 story demo house there. The same system is also being used to build another 2 story home and also a 5 unit apartment complex.
I got the unique opportunity to be on site as Printed Farms began construction of their first building. The financier of the project decided their first build would be a 30×30 tractor shed. In Florida the hurricanes can have extremely high wind speeds. Fortunately the printed concrete is very sturdy with a strength over 5000 psi.
Although Printed Farms is a relatively new start up their founders Jim Ritter and Fredrik Wannius are not new to construction. They have financed construction projects across a range of uses and realized in that process how inefficient traditional construction models can be. Many of these struggles relate to organizing the large team of people that it takes to construct a building especially with the ongoing shortage of manual labor in many regions. Reducing manpower needed for the job is only a small part of the benefits realized with 3D printed construction technology. Data is everything and when you have a BOD 2 system plugged into a laptop onsite you have full control of the project at your fingertips.
The printer is equipped with various sensors to improve ease of use but it still requires some training to operate. If the ground or slab that you’re printing on is uneven, the BOD 2 is able to compensate for those irregularities, there is also a sensor in the extruder portion of the printer that alerts the concrete pump to send more through the hose. Generally the COBOD team would come out to train the print operator in person but due to typical 2020 complications the training process was completed online. Fredrik has become very competent with the massive 3D printer and feels like the online training was very good although he still collaborates with the COBOD team if he has any questions.
Printing outside exposed to the elements was a substantial feat achieved in this build. Many projects have needed protective tents surrounding them in order to maintain specific temperatures and humidity. When you need to build a temporary structure around an entire construction site things start to get expensive with the current solutions. Floridas natural climate allowed for this project to be completed outside.
Printed Farms has many fascinating projects in the pipeline that Fredrik discusses in the video. Although most of the printing is currently experimental, 3D printing in construction is at a transformative stage and soon its products will become consumer facing.
Recently I had the incredible opportunity to be one of the first Americans to see the 3D printed Fibonacci house under construction by Twente Additive Manufacturing. Maybe you saw it in the video I posted last week.
I also got to explore their facility and watch a few prints. I took the opportunity to ask pointed questions about the process so that I could compile the golden nuggets of knowledge directly from the experts during a print to share with you. For this weeks video, I have made an instructional introduction to operating a concrete 3D printer. There is a lot going on and so this short video barely scratches the surface of the various challenges one can face with different prints. Like Jim Ziemlanski says every print is different and with those differences come different challenges. At this point Jim has racked up many hours on the machine and is highly knowledgeable.
To understand what is involved on a basic level, here are the steps I’ve contrived from my observations during my time in the Twente Additive Manufacturing facility.
Test Run of first layer
Choosing 1K vs 2K material
Filling the mixer
Dialing in the details
Material consistency testing
Water Content Testing
Watch for problems
Analyze water content
Insert rebar & lifting hold
End the print gracefully
Designing the file is usually done in Rhino with the Grasshopper plugin. This is the industry standard software for parametric design in 3D printed construction. The file is then converted into a print path for the specific printer and its parameters can be updated in real time during a print if any changes need to be made thus eliminating the need to start over.
Next you test the first layer path of the printer to ensure that you are printing on a uniform high from the print surface. If you print surface is uneven it may be possible to compensate for that with your printer assuming it is a correctable margin (< 2cm). It is best to start on a perfectly flat surface because that will ultimately be the plane of your objects first layer.
Twente prints in two different material types, 1K and 2K. 1K is a simpler concrete mix developed by Laticrete. I’ve had Matthew Carli, the Director of Innovation at Laticrete on my podcast (Episode 3) to talk about the 3D printed construction space. The 2K material is developed by Baumit and requires a unique Baumit extruder along with an accelerant additive that is plugged into the nozzle and extruded with the proprietary material that it reacts with to allow the concrete to be printed on steeper angles, even permitting bridging and overhangs that would not be possible with regular concrete. As one may expect this more complicated material is much more expensive.
Loading the concrete mixer is the next step. The mixer used at TAM is loaded by hand but long term as the demand increases for 3D printed concrete parts it is likely they will use larger hoppers so they need to fill them less often.
Before printing, the concrete mix has to be dialed in properly. The settings need adjusting based off environmental factors like humidity and temperature. The hose from the mixer is nearly 20 ft long so it takes a while for the changes made to show in the end of the extruder. As the concrete drips from the extruder it is collected in 5G buckets and used for something that doesn’t need as particular parameters that way it doesn’t go to waste.
To verify the water content wt% a 50 gram sample of the wet extruded concrete is taken and microwaved to remove the water. It is then weighed again to determine how many grams of water were in it. This difference in weight allows you to find the wt%.
Before you start printing, back pressure must be applied to the extruder that way the concrete hose from the mixer stays full and doesn’t get any air pockets. This is done by hand with a spatula until the printer hits the print bed and starts on the first layer. This is similar to my Prusa MK3 desktop 3D printer that will extrude excess plastic which needs to be removed immediately before the print starts.
Printing is actually the easy part. If everything is going smoothly all you have to do is watch but at this scale, issues can be costly and time consuming to clean up so its best to keep an eye on it. Concrete has a tendency to clog so if the print shows signs of looking sloppy it may be best to pause the print, clear the clog, and resume from where you left off. Other issues can arise if the design doesn’t allow the concrete enough strength to support itself. Making a 3D model is easy but without an understanding for the limitations of a printer/material a novice could easily design something impossible to print. While printing, it would be wise to do more water wt% calculations as you go.
During the print it can be opportune to add supports in the form of rebar or supports for a hold that the piece can be lifted from in the future. This can be done by hand as long as it is placed evenly to allow the next concrete layer to print over top of it.
Ending the print is similar to starting it because once again you must apply back-pressure to the printer that way it doesn’t drip all over the freshly done print. This is once again done with a spatula by hand.
Just because the object is done, doesn’t mean you are. Next every part of the system that touched wet concrete has to be cleaned rigorously otherwise it could easily ruin the equipment. This paragraph is short but that process is long.
Next week we will take a look at the things TAM has printed around the grounds of their facility. There are all kinds of prints they have achieved that range from practical to creative. We will also take a look at how the offsite prints are transported to their final locations.
Recently I got the chance to speak with Dmitri Julius and Alexander Le Roux from Icon. If you haven’t heard, Icon is a startup that raise $35 Million A round led by Moderne Ventures to continue their progress developing the equipment and methodology for 3D printing buildings at scale.
Our initial scheduling got rained out. According to the head of communications at Icon, Brooke Baguess (who was instrumental in organizing our interview) filming after the rain is somewhat of an unintentional tradition for Icon. Also unintentionally, the day we had to reschedule for was 9/11. Coincidentally, Dmitri Julius had served in the US Marine Corps for 8 years earning the rank of sergeant starting in Feb 2003 only a year after the attack on the twin towers. I felt compelled to thank him and the rest of the troops/first responders for their service.
Dmitri still has the chance to interact with the US Marine Corps in his role as Vice President of Operations at Icon. In California, a project was completed to 3D print a ‘Vehicle Hide Structure’ that could serve to conceal a cargo or weaponized vehicle. Icon has an ongoing relationship with the military that should prove mutually beneficial for years to come.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes is the non-profit organization that Icon 3D printed these homes in Austin, TX. They’ve built a growing community of tiny homes that features an ICON made building as the welcome center. Homelessness is a rising issue in Austin, America, and around the world. ICON is poised to combat that with their technology. Dmitri mentioned that as Mobile Loaves and Fishes expands, ICON has stepped up to the plate and hopes to print many more homes for them in the future.
I asked Dmitri how his role at ICON changed pre and post funding. Dmitri expressed that at their startup no task is ‘beneath’ them and the team is willing to get their hands dirty on the job site when it’s needed.
Icon is on a bit of a hiring spree post funding and as they begin to fill those positions and the company expands the real changes will start to manifest. A big fundraise is huge for a startup but the effects are not fully realized until the money gets spent.
Next I spoke with Alexander Le Roux, a Co-Founder of Icon and also the CTO. Alex started his first 3D printed construction company in college called Vesta printers. He achieved a rudimentary design that demonstrated the ability to print concrete vertically high enough for a wall of a home.
After college he met Jason Ballard and Evan Loomis. Together the three of them founded Icon to take the technology to the next level.
Icon has developed a signature formula to print with that they call Lavacrete. It has a strength of 6000psi and as you can see in the building behind me (not even the latest version) it prints very smoothly. We constantly use the term ‘print’ to describe the automated pouring of concrete without any formwork, I can’t help but consider that in the mature stage of this presently niche industry companies may emulate the business model of paper printing companies and sell the printer at a loss to profit long term on the ink.
Alex and I talked a bit about the future of this technology. He mentioned how people tend to overestimate what can be done in a day but underestimate what can be done in 10 years. I wanted to know about projects on the horizon for Icon especially now that they have the funding to pursue bigger things and Alex said he can’t talk about it but I could tell he is very excited for what’s to come. If you have a project in mind that you’d like to do with Icon, Alex says to go to their website www.iconbuild.com and use their contact form. They won’t accept just any project but if it is a good fit they may be willing to work with you.
After our discussions I checked out one of the homes they built, I could only go in the living room at the time but it was very nice. It certainly had a tiny home vibe, the room actually featured a full kitchen as well. The space is well utilized and it doesn’t feel cheap like it would if it had been built with cinderblocks.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of Rebartek AS Max(imillian) Trommer. His startup has developed an autonomous system of building rebar cages offsite that can latter be connected on site.
large projects take thousands of man-hours assembling rebar cages. This time consuming process can hold up the schedule especially in places where labor is hard to come by like Norway where Rebartek is headquartered. Currently Rebartek does their fabrication in their facility, but there are many exciting developments ahead for their tech. One concept being tested is a semi mobile gantry system that could be brought to a construction site to decrease the shipping expenses of the assembled cages. This makes a lot of sense if you consider the volume of an assembled rebar form vs the the volume the rebar would take up if it were unassembled and parallel.
Max started this company a couple years ago after working on a large bridge project and seeing firsthand how costly and time consuming it was to assemble the rebar. Initially he had a partner that helped him get the concept off the ground which was a key component for the concept because Max had no prior experience with automation robotics. Fast forward to now and his perspective on the complications of automation has changed drastically.
Their initial concept has been realized but with more experience, Rebartek is now fine tuning the system and using machine learning to achieve a variety of efficiencies.
Norway like many other countries faces a serious labor shortage that if left unsolved will lead to serious bottlenecks in the construction industry. Long term, a weak labor force means less buildings will be built and affordable housing access will decrease. Rebartek offers a solution to lighten a slice of this shortage and offer benefit to the construction schedule.
Max would like future engineers to consider how to pursue parametric design and code based solutions and recommends pythons as a very versatile useful tool for aspiring engineers looking to automate tasks.
As Rebartek continues to develop their technology and increase the efficiency of their product offering they will build a very compelling backlog of projects. It will take more projects to accurately depict the true time/cost savings because every project is so different but as always with technology over time there is no doubt we will see significant developments.
Check out the Rebartek Youtube channel to get an idea of how their tech works.
If you’re watching this video maybe you’ve seen some of my other videos where I tour 3D printed buildings and make content around the automated construction industry. Thanks to viewers like yourself, I now am getting access to opportunities and companies that previously had no interest in responding to me and because of you I’ll be able to make some really awesome videos coming up with some really awesome cutting edge companies.
3 times a week someone will call me asking if a 3D printed house can be built their neighborhood so I figured it would be helpful to make a video answering this simple question.
The short answer is yes but if you are looking to find the cheapest option, the tech is so new that it will be challenging to find someone that has a printer and the skills to use it who is willing to do a project with just one home. If you need a regular house built, the construction equipment for that project is available at every construction equipment rental outlet in the nation. By my estimations there currently under 100 large scale concrete 3D printers capable of printing a tall enough wall for a house.
To buy a 3D printed house, you will either have to make a deal directly with a company and pay them enough to convince them to use their very busy printer to make one house for you or buy the entire printer yourself which could cost more than the house.
Ultimately the dream of automation and technology is to decrease the price of work therefore allowing more people and organizations access to building tech that would have otherwise been out of reach. Unfortunately in order for this goal to be realized the industry needs to get bigger in order to realize efficiencies of scale. Think of the way Tesla first sold their expensive roadster car back in 2010, it was nearly 10x more expensive than the Tesla model 3 that you can buy today. Teslas use of cutting edge automation in their manufacturing plants gave them an edge that has become impossible to ignore but for a very long time before the economies of scale were realized, many people thought the industry of electric cars would never be profitable and for a long time Tesla was the most shorted company on the US stock exchange.
It’s no secret there is a serious labor shortage in construction here in America and many other countries around the globe. Some are concerned automation will replace jobs but think of it this way, there are so many different types of architecture and there is room for all of them. No matter what there will always be people that appreciate a handmade building over one built by machines.
The labor shortage is causing less new construction projects to be started. This is a major problem because according to freddiemac.com there is a shortage of 2.5million houses that need to be built in America.
I’ve been in Austin for the past few months and in the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen the number of tents on highway medians and under bridges double and housing is only getting more expensive.
The reality is unless more people start picking trade school over college homelessness and shelter insecurity will become an increasingly pressing matter.
If you do still want to buy a 3D printed house the first big question is will it be permitted in your local municipalities zoning laws and construction code. The construction technique is so new that it can be tricky to figure out the permitting situation.
If you want to make the process go smoothly then you can replicate traditional construction methods like CMU concrete blocks and fill columns of your printed concrete with rebar and traditional poured concrete. This is great for helping your municipality understand your project and getting though the paperwork quicker but because you will need to rely on traditional construction methods for all the structural elements of the building you will not realize the labor efficiencies.
To print the house using the printed concrete as a structural element of the building, you force your architect or engineer to venture into unknown territory. For a professional engineer to sign off on your plan, you will need to test the structure to failure. Yes, this means that if you want to build a 3D printed house that is structurally dependent on printed elements then you must build not one but two houses because one of them will need to be destroyed in order to be sure it is strong enough. This is an irritating barrier to entry that is not cost effective at all but it is absolutely critical to ensure the safety of every house built with this technology.
Thinking about the big picture this isn’t important, it’s only a temporary setback before enough data is collected for engineers to be able to accurately predict the strength of printed concrete elements every time, but for now every new structure must be proven to failure.
Short term, a clever way around this is to use repeating modular segments that are identical. If you can build a house out of 3 or 4 different modular segments for example, one for a wall, one for a corner, one for a window and one for a door, then you only need to test each of those segments once and they can be printed and repeated into infinity as long as you continue testing the concrete parameters.
If you wanted to build multiple similar units then this starts to make a lot more sense from a financial perspective because you always have the fixed cost of testing the new design so the more you build the more cost effective it gets.
One of the major benefits of 3D printing as opposed to prefab is that your machine is capable of infinite designs as opposed to prefab units that are identical. If you want to build 1000s of units of the same building for the lowest price and fastest time then prefab is your best bet. If you want units that look unique, 3D printing concrete becomes a much more interesting option but the current environment of regulation is holding the tech back from its full potential and rightfully so until the safety standards have been proven to a sufficient redundancy.
If you watched this entire video and you are still interested in getting a 3D printed house built for yourself knowing that being the first in your area to do so could be an expensive challenge then feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can try to help.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, I will try to answer them as best I can. I am working on redeveloping my website to include a job listings section as many companies competing in the race to automate construction are currently hiring especially Engineers and Architects with parametric design experience. If there is anything else in particular you think would be a good addition to the website let me know. I would like to provide a place where resources are available for people pursuing automated construction projects who need them.
If you’ve signed up for my mailing list already which includes 114 people at this point thank you, soon I will be sending the first one. for many people, their email inbox is a sacred place not to be bogged down with constant spam. Because of this I will make sure to only send emails when it is really worth it, maybe once or twice a month. It’s really meant for the people who have a deep interest in the long term prospect of automated construction, so if you’re only interested in the surface level project videos, then there is really no need for you to be on the mailing list.
I hope this video answers some of your questions and that you aren’t too disappointed you can’t just order a 3d printed house online and have it come in a week for under $100,000. In time all technology is improving incredibly fast and there is no reason to suspect that this technology won’t ultimately be the same.
If you want to learn more, check out my other videos where I cover 30 companies competing in 3D printing houses and tour various 3D printed buildings.
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Recently I got the opportunity to speak with a cofounder and the CFO of BeMore3D, Jose Luis Puchades Valencia. BeMore3D developed their own large scale concrete printer. They started as a 3D printing company with plastics but then developed a 2×2 meter printer as a proof of concept for printing concrete and from there they engineered the much larger printer that they use today.
Their biggest accomplishments to date are printing the first houses in both Spain and Africa. A focus on materials is at the heart of BeMore3D, they are constantly working on developing solutions and have experience fine tuning their mix with local ingredients to achieve a cost effective material to print with.
Jose told me that soon they will be unveiling a brand new website that will be transformative for their online presence and allow potential clients a whole new suite of functions including the process of buying a large scale concrete printer from BeMore3D. If you don’t want to wait for their new website you can contact them directly and place an order.
You can see in the house printed in Africa that the project goes through the whole day and as the sun moves there are drastic changes in the temperature and humidity. Concrete is sensitive to these factors so BeMore3D has included sensors in their printer that detect the ambient conditions for the project and adjust the parameters of the print like how much water is included in the mixture.
By using polymeric fibers in their concrete mix they are able to avoid using traditional steel supports and rebar. Eliminating the need for these things down the line will really help in maximizing the autonomy of the project. BeMore3D has many exciting projects lined up, I will be sure to track their accomplishments as they grow and spread their tech around the world.
There is a brand new company with 30 million in funding from silicon valley investors on the scene of Automated Construction that just came out of stealth mode in August 2020 and they’ve already delivered their first 2 units to customers.
Anyone who has done construction in California is familiar with the shortage of skilled laborers that is driving construction costs through the roof stick built housing in California costs $321. Mighty buildings has developed a solution decreasing this cost by 45%. Of course if the land has precarious circumstances the cost to build a secure foundation could be well over the expense for the home.
Mighty Buildings has been developing a solution for 3D printing unlike any I’ve seen on a large scale. With a custom printer and custom material, Mighty Buildings has differentiated their product significantly from materials based on Portland cement.
They call it synthetic stone. This material is lighter and supposedly stronger than concrete while also having an even higher thermal resistance which is an enormous benefit in the fiery land of California. Having a home that is fire resistant to this degree can be the difference between having a place to go back to after a natural disaster. Unlike concrete which cures over time, Mighty Buildings synthetic stone requires ultraviolet light to instantly harden which creates such a strong structure that they can 3D print a flat horizontal roof with a breadth up to 14ft.
All of their printing is done completely off site in one of their controlled facilities. After it is printed they use a crane to drop it into place. If it is a bigger home then it will be placed one section at a time but the smallest model is all in one. Down the line, they are looking towards solutions that will chemically seal the modular segments together so that the exterior shell can form a monolithic impenetrable structure. Achieving a monolithic structure offers many benefits like preventing water damage, and improving insulation which in turn can decrease your electric bill and improve the overall sustainability of your home.
Mighty buildings first home has already achieved a Certificate of Occupancy for their first residential homes and the occupant seems quite satisfied so far. This was made possible largely because they got the material they are using to be UL certified which goes a long way in cementing the legitimacy and trust in their product.
Mighty buildings is much more a tech startup than a construction company and that is evident in their approach to the entire process. It will be very exciting to see this company grow as they reach their early adopter customer base and begin to receive feedback on a large scale on what it is actually like to live in one of these homes. As with any tech I am positive that Mighty Buildings will be constantly trying to improve their product.
3D printing lends itself to intricacy because if you can make a really cool model or a unique parametric design then a 3D printer can achieve a level of detail that would be absolutely cost prohibitive otherwise. Designing models like that can take a long time but once they are made they can be printed over and over with the press of a button. Because of this there is no doubt that the Mighty Buildings catalog will be expanding drastically over time.
If they had no interest in offering a diverse lineup of products then they would have just build injection molds for their current product line but instead they opted for the infinitely more versatile option of 3D printing.
In the near future I have some really awesome videos planned with some really awesome companies, I am really looking forward to stepping up my game as I continue to research automated construction sharing my findings.
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