3D Printing Buildings


Back in the deepest archives at TD Towers is a 2011 post on 3D printing for buildings and field fortifications using a technique called contour crafting. One of the disadvantages of these early systems was the need to build parallel rails for the printing head to move along. This new system from APIS COR in Rusia does away with parallel rails and instead, uses a robotic arm.

The main attraction of these systems is the dramatic reduction in waste materials, ease of transport and low power consumption, less than 8kW.

Apis Cor countour crafting 2

A single device can cover an area of up to 192 m2

Apis Cor countour crafting

Read more at APIS COR

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It’s hard to believe that this company isn’t British. They state that the machine has a low energy consumption that is equivalent to 5 teapots.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu

Looks suspiciously like a university project – the only examples appear to be in a lab.

However it does show a way forward, possibly where customised components are required to form a complex shape. I spoke to an engineer whose firm were tasked to face a complex curved RC structure in tiles. They found a glass manufacturer who passed the tiles over a computer controlled pin bed whilst still plastic so each tile had a unique shape.

The material for the printed building looks to me to be a sand cement mortar which tends to be expensive in cement. If the technology could be pushed to use a 10 mm pump mix for example, and reinforced with fibre then we could be motoring.

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner

Given Russians’ copious tea drinking, I am not surprised that they used teapots as an energy measure; I wonder if they actually meant samovars?