The next industrial revolution won’t be centralized or happening in large remote factories. The next industrial revolution will create shapes and forms at home using 3D printers. This article from the MIT review explores the possibilities of printing building shapes using large 3D printer types.
“In conventional construction, workers piece together buildings from mass-produced, prefabricated bricks, I-beams, concrete columns, plates of glass and so on. Neri Oxman, an architect and a professor at MIT’s Media Lab, intends to print them instead—essentially using concrete, polymers, and other materials in the place of ink. Oxman is developing a new way of designing buildings to take advantage of the flexibility that printing can provide. If she’s successful, her approach could lead to designs that are impossible with today’s construction methods.
Existing 3-D printers, also called rapid prototyping machines, build structures layer by layer. So far these machines have been used mainly to make detailed plastic models based on computer designs. But as such printers improve and become capable of using more durable materials, including metals, they’ve become a potentially interesting way to make working products.
Oxman is working to extend the capabilities of these machines—making it possible to change the elasticity of a polymer or the porosity of concrete as it’s printed, for example—and mounting print heads on flexible robot arms that have greater freedom of movement than current printers.”
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