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Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancleave, Ms about 30 miles inland from Biloxi and the coast
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3-D Printing

04/13/2013 3:02 PM

While we have been thinking of 3-D printing as a "nice" gimmick, capable of making prototypes and models, others have been thinking outside the box. 3-D printing is really quite simple. The technology is already here awaiting someone with imagination to find new uses for it. What new uses can you come up with? Below is a video of one of it's latest capabilities.

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/a-giant-3d-printer-builds-a-livable-house/28301

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Guru

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 600
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#1

Re: 3-D Printing

04/13/2013 11:26 PM

Very cool! Such a simple idea - I wonder why nobody thought of this before?

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wisconsin USA
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: 3-D Printing

04/14/2013 3:05 AM

Decades ago, before the very first true additive-manufacturing object (made from a photoresist intended for circuit board manufacture) in the early 1980's, someone built a house or building using a process not unlike the "new" one. The material was a plastic foam, and it was dispensed at the end of an arm that went around and around, building the structure a layer at a time. One of the magazines showed it, I think in the very late 1950's or early 60's. Simple polar-coordinate mechanisms would build a sort of igloo, essentially a hemisphere, this way. Switching to a Cartesian system is straightforward. See Patent Number: 4575330 - Issue date: Mar 11, 1986 - This is Chuck Hull's core stereolithography patent describing the process. It showed a turntable (polar coordinate) system and the "cup", "goblet", or "chalice" that was the first object so produced. The magazine was probably Popular Science for the house-building system, but I haven't located it.

I expect that they'd have sheathed the foam with either conventional materials, or by applying stucco to handle weather, but that's been a long time . . .

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Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1479
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#5
In reply to #2

Re: 3-D Printing

04/14/2013 7:16 AM

I never thought about it but the Eskimos have been 3D printing igloos for centuries.

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wisconsin USA
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#4
In reply to #1

Re: 3-D Printing

04/14/2013 3:55 AM

I think that this is the house I was thinking of in my earlier post: http://retrorenovation.com/2011/06/15/energy-efficient-1964-dome-house-built-of-styrofoam-by-robert-schwartz-a-student-of-buckminster-fuller/. Note that this foam dome was built in 1964 using a spiral generating machine.

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Guru

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Edinburgh, Bonnie Scotland
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#3

Re: 3-D Printing

04/14/2013 3:40 AM

I wonder when building a house this way in 20 hours will meet building regs? Concrete takes time to set, and there are regulation times for setting, and number of brick layers per day to allow drying time/ foundation settlement/ etc. Can 3D printing build pipework which is not porous? Or steel reinforcement with sufficient strength? Nice idea, but prefab would be more suitable, imo.

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Guru

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#8
In reply to #3

Re: 3-D Printing

04/17/2013 12:39 AM

It's true that the concrete takes time to set & gain strength - but that's true whether the job is built in one hour or in six months. Why not put up the self-supporting structure in insulating foam in under 20 hours, hang the pre-fabbed plumbing, HVAC, and wiring harnesses, then spray shot-crete over it for the meets-every-code-including-earthquake-and-hurricane-zone structural shell? Sure, it won't be fully hardened for a month or so, but that gives you time to install flooring, do landscaping, install the lighting fixtures, windows and doors, and maybe stucco the outside for UV protection, etc. You can have all of your furniture in place and be moved in before the concrete cures fully. Plenty of dome buildings are being built by spraying foam over an inflated form, then shot-creted over re-bar, and they meet code. Have done for several decades now! Using fiber-reinforced concrete would eliminate the need for re-bar, and cut time immensely.

Forty years ago I was making concrete that - WITHOUT ANY REBAR - was exceeding 10,000 psi compressive strength, and had very respectable bending strength. In 9-inch thickness, it was several times more difficult to break through in UL-approved vault wall tests than the "standard" material (18 inches of 3,000-psi minimum compressive strength concrete, with three layers of rebar on 6-inch square grid pattern, center layer offset 3 inches horizontally & 3 inches vertically from the outer two; grids were at 3, 9, and 15 inches from a given surface). There is no earthly reason to add rebar if the fibers can be added as part of the spraying process; and it's no different than applying chopped fibers while spraying up a boat hull in 'glass. The technologies already exist and are being used on a daily basis, though perhaps not all together at one place.

The concrete I was making cost 15 - 30% more than standard mix, back then, but it used all commercially-available materials, and didn't require any exotic process, etc. We used about half as much of it, and could pour the moment that forms were placed. No waiting for rebar installarion, no paying for rebar, no paying for the labor to place it. In fact, we REDUCED the level of skill needed by workmen, so installed cost was FAR lower than conventional material.

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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2008
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#6

Re: 3-D Printing

04/15/2013 10:24 AM

While it is a much more mundane use, I used to get wax 3-d models which I could then invest in ceramic, burn out the wax and cast a metal prototype for my customer. It saved a lot of time and expense over building a metal mold to produce the wax and then make the prototype especially at the early experimental stage.

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Guru

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: "Springwood", North Tamborine Mountain. Qld. OZ.
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#7

Re: 3-D Printing

04/16/2013 10:57 PM

Wow!

Should be more use made of this technique.

And, showing it to family and friends indicates very strongly that there is such a thing as "timeless fashion".

Some of the fitout fashion is a hit still, today.

Am enthused to build one myself, but probably won't get the chance.

Cheers,

Stu.

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