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3-D Printer Creates Buildings From Dust and Glue

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-layer-at-a-time dept.

Moon 139

An anonymous reader writes "D-Shape, an innovative new 3-D printer, builds solid structures like sculptures, furniture, even buildings from the ground up. The device relies on sand and magnesium glue to actually build structures layer by layer from solid stone. The designer, Enrico Dini, is even talking with various organizations about making the printer compatible with moon dust, paving the way for an instant moonbase!"

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First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525592)

And then 3 more before we print

Beyond 2000 comes to life (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525680)

I remember the tv show, beyond 2000, back in the early 90s. One of the items they talked about was being able to fax someone objects. So you would scan it, and it would send (over the phone lines) a fax to someone who had a similar machine and the machine would create the object.

Is this step 1 to that?

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (2, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526190)

Yes, but is it a solution to the problem of people replying to junk posts to get higher page placement? Putting things in context is a highly efficient organizational skill.

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526736)

Beyond 2000? How about a Star Trek replicator?

Has anyone thought about the social implications? A Star Trek replicator would make real, concrete objects as easy to duplicate as intellectual property is now. We'll be in for a fantastic social upheaval.

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527520)

Replicator technology would have a massive impact on the economy. The price of goods would decline dramatically, making services the only remaining source of strong income. Copyright law will become yet more complicated. In the end, it'd seriously be a different world.

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (2, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528816)

That's only true for a replicator that is unlimited. If the replicator had imperfections, what you say is nonsense.

Maybe cost of energy would be the defining criterium for the cost of goods (that would be about the same situation as today, energy input is the most highly correlated property to the price of a good).

If it was only able to re-arrange atoms you would still need mines to get to the necessary minerals, and many things would remain rare (e.g. you wouldn't be able to make gold jewels any cheaper).

If it required at least the same mass as input to create an object, that too would create scarcity, requiring again an economy (though probably different than today's)

The world would hardly be different, and we'd still need the economy to supply us.

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (1)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527776)

That's pretty much how they're able to explain the "utopia" that is the federation - there is no (monetary) value to property, so essentially it's similar to socialism or comunism, but it works as greed cannot have any effect.

Re:Beyond 2000 comes to life (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528886)

Strange how half their stories revolve around greed anyway. Lots of stuff is rare and valuable in the "utopia", including ironically, slave labor.

But also other things : latium, land on earth, military ranks, political positions, collectibles, ...

And there's the never ending stream of people that seem to want to leave the federation.

Nothing to say... (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525692)

A friend of mine worked at a place that had a machine that did this with a laser and plastic powder, and he had some amazing little prototype bits; Very art-like.
[CITATION NEEDED]

Re:Nothing to say... (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525808)

LMGTFY
http://laserrepro.com/ [laserrepro.com]

Re:Nothing to say... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525824)

Citation here [reprap.org]

Re:Nothing to say... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526010)

Maybe not in plastic, but some good 3d printed sculptures [bathsheba.com] and math models [bathsheba.com]

Re:First Post (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525782)

I think with one of these and some glue, and I could build a skyscraper out of the dust in my apartment, I'm finding as I prepare to move out...

Power consumption (1)

andsens (1658865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525608)

I wonder what the power consumption of a monster like this is.

Re:Power consumption (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528682)

Well, you've presumably got motors to move the print head in three axes, a compressor to drive the sand and the glue through the print head... I'd guess that its power consumption would probably be less than that of a small excavator like a Bobcat operating for the same amount of time.

-jcr

first use (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525610)

I want a Fred Flintstone house.

Re:first use (4, Funny)

idji (984038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526178)

what do you mean? a thousand yards long for those endless running scenes, Or where a wife can lock her husband out but a raptor or sabre-tooth tiger can come in through any window?

Re:first use (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528174)

what do you mean? a thousand yards long for those endless running scenes, Or where a wife can lock her husband out but a raptor or sabre-tooth tiger can come in through any window?

It isn't actually long, it has torus-shaped corridors. That's why the background keeps repeating.

Re:first use (2, Informative)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528468)

It's worse than that - in the closing credits, the saber-tooth locks Fred out.

Re:first use (2, Funny)

Cyberia (70947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526372)

Okay, how long before the High-Capacity Building Cartridges are available? And will they only come 1/10th full? Perhaps the InkJet Manufacturer's have a new customer base to fleece... One slightly filled cartridge per color = PROFIT!

Re:first use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527948)

I want a Fred Flintstone house.

im pretty sure he rented.

"Magnesium glue"? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525624)

n/t

Subject is for subjects, comment is for comments. (0)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525874)

n/t.

Moondust-From Wikipedia (1, Insightful)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525644)

There are concerns that the dust found on the lunar surface could cause harmful effects on any manned outpost technology and crew members:
Abrasive nature of the dust particles may rub and wear down surfaces through friction;
Negative effect on coatings used on gaskets to seal equipment from space, optical lenses that include solar panels and windows as well as wiring;
Possible damage to an astronaut's lungs, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
The principles of astronautical hygiene should be used to assess the risks of exposure to lunar dust during exploration on the Moon's surface and thereby determine the most appropriate measures to control exposure. These would include for example, removing the spacesuit in a three stage airlock, vacuuming the suit before removal, using local exhaust ventilation with a high efficiency particulate filter to remove any dust in the space craft's atmosphere etc (Ref: Dr J R Cain presentation "The application of astronautical hygiene to protect the health of astronauts", UK Space Biomedicine Association Conference 2009, Downing College, University of Cambridge).
The harmful properties of the lunar dust are not well known. However, based on studies of dust found on Earth, it is expected that exposure to lunar dust will result in greater risks to health both from direct exposure (acute) and if exposure is over time (chronic). This is because lunar dust is more chemically reactive and has larger surface areas composed of sharper jagged edges than Earth dust (Ref: Dr John R Cain, "Moon dust - a danger to lunar explorers" , Spaceflight, Vol 52, February 2010, pp60 - 65).

Can you say bad Idea?

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525696)

Heaven forbid they put a sealant on the interior facing walls. That's just pure lunacy!

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526568)

> Moondust
> pure lunacy!

I see what you did there.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528680)

I'm sure sealing the walls will keep all the moondust tracked in by the kids, and their pets, out of the building.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (5, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525774)

Can you say bad Idea?

Fiberglass particulate is just as nasty and it's in your home right now! *ominous look upwards* Oh, wait... it's sealed behind a wall. Nevermind. Same principle apples to "space dust". Build the structure, then coat the insides or attach walls to make it a happy fun place for all.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526600)

I’m sorry?? That stuff is illegal since at least a decade now, isn’t it?
It’s well-known that that ”sealing” never is really complete, and in practice of construction, there will always be some holes in it. I know because I know of families who nearly died from that. (In their cases it was really shoddy construction. But better construction still never makes the problem completely go away.)

And something being bad is not a valid argument about how bad something else is.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526928)

I believe you're thinking of Asbestos insulation, not fiberglass sheets. Fiberglass is very common.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526990)

And something being bad is not a valid argument about how bad something else is.

No, but assessing comparable risks to put the "badness" in perspective is valid for argument.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527406)

You're thinking of asbestos, maybe...

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31528234)

Fiberglass insulation isn't exactly the healthiest thing on earth to breath either man.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (2, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527540)

I get your point that insulation in home construction is very different from construction with moon dust, however I do feel like I should make this one point:

in practice of construction, there will always be some holes in it.

If there is one group of people that ought to be very talented at building things that don't have holes, its astronauts.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527414)

The issue in part is the fact that it isn't clear that you can perfectly decontaminate material being passed through airlocks. So in fact sealing reduces the problem considerably but does not eliminate it by itself.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525792)

The dust would be suspended in glue. And the astronauts don't nee to be directly exposed to it -- they can use the dust to build the structure and then coat the internal surfaces. I assume we have paints with non-toxic fumes?

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (2, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525798)

I can say bad idea, but I do not think this is a bad idea.

Concrete dust has many of the properties of lunar dust. We know we will have to find a way to build with it if we are going to make a moon-base.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527688)

Concrete dust has many of the properties of lunar dust.

Well, except for the whole razor-sharp-jaggies-that-never-get-worn-down-by-weather property. And the, the-whole-moon-is-covered-with-that-crap property. But yeah, other than that, it's exactly the same. oO

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528362)

And the, the-whole-moon-is-covered-with-that-crap property.

Sure. And for all the parts of the Moon that pose an exposure risk to the moondust-o-death, if you're standing there unprotected from this evil powder, you have a far more immediate health risk [wikipedia.org] to deal with.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528812)

Sure. And for all the parts of the Moon that pose an exposure risk to the moondust-o-death, if you're standing there unprotected from this evil powder, you have a far more immediate health risk to deal with.

Exactly! It's kinda like how, if I had a vacuum sealed house, I'd never ever get dust inside! Right?

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525872)

Not only that, but lack of an atmosphere can be hard on the lungs. We should really stay here where it's safe and warm.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525940)

A bit more about moon dust -

It's called regolith and isn't smooth. If you look at 'grit', such as sand or dirt or dust etc on earth, you'll find that it's all rounded by erosion. There is no erosion on the moon, so the 'grit' up there is all sharp.

I think that humans won't have too much trouble with it as far as inhaling goes - it'll get trapped in mucus as well as all the other dust we inhale.

Basically, it's different enough from Earth sand and dust to be interesting, but Earth grit is still abrasive. You probably wouldn't have any more trouble with your lenses than you would on Earth.

Wait... haven't we already sent people to the moon? If it was going to wreck our solar panels, lenses, or people, wouldn't we have already found that out?

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (2, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527736)

I think that humans won't have too much trouble with it as far as inhaling goes - it'll get trapped in mucus as well as all the other dust we inhale.

Funny, you'd think the same thing about airborne silicon, and yet you'd be wrong [wikipedia.org] :

When small silica dust particles are inhaled, they can embed themselves deeply into the tiny alveolar sacs and ducts in the lungs, where oxygen and carbon dioxide gases are exchanged. There, the lungs cannot clear out the dust by mucous or coughing.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528322)

It's called regolith and isn't smooth.

Regolith is the geological name for for dust covered Lunar surface. Dust is the name for the dust. (Kinda like a beach is made up of sand.)
 

Basically, it's different enough from Earth sand and dust to be interesting, but Earth grit is still abrasive. You probably wouldn't have any more trouble with your lenses than you would on Earth.

Earth grit, which isn't exactly common outside of sandy or windblown areas, is abrasive. Earth dust, which like Lunar dust is ubiquitous, isn't. So to some extent you're comparing apples (ubiquitous non abrasive Earth dust) to oranges (ubiquitous abrasive Lunar dust.)
 

Wait... haven't we already sent people to the moon? If it was going to wreck our solar panels, lenses, or people, wouldn't we have already found that out?

We have already found out that in the very short term (think hours) Lunar dust is highly damaging to moving parts. much more so than terrestrial dust. (It even damages things that you wouldn't normally think of as a moving part - like folds in clothing, or between the fingers of gloves.) We don't really have enough experience with long terms operations in Lunar dust, especially in and around operations that will disturb the dust.
 
But it's pretty clear that the dust is going to be a major problem for equipment like the machine described in TFA, as well as for mining machines associated with recovering lunar water.
 

I think that humans won't have too much trouble with it as far as inhaling goes - it'll get trapped in mucus as well as all the other dust we inhale.

Yeah, that's why we make people like miners, metal workers, woodworkers, and others who work around artificially produced (and thus still sharp) dust wear personal protective equipment.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

IndigoDarkwolf (752210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526144)

So it's a bad idea for them to chip away at the walls of their moon base, once the moon base is glued together. But doesn't it follow that, no matter what material they use, they won't exactly want to be putting new holes into their space house?

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526416)

But how else will the astronauts get a nice cross breeze going? I've seen all those designs and they always seem to forget to put in windows that open. It would get so stuffy in there.

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (2, Funny)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528316)

Probably a bad ideas to drill holes in the walls -- but at least if they do, the dust from drilling will go outside rather than come inside (well, at least for a while, and by the time that's no longer true, no one inside will really care much anymore).

Re:Moondust-From Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31528804)

Easy send more clones!

I, for one... (2, Funny)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525666)

I, for one, say "neato!".

Sand and Magnesium as resources... (5, Informative)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525702)

...sounds like a great choice as resources to use. As Sand is basically silicon and readily available, magnesium is also the 7th most abundant [jlab.org] in th earths crust. It seems like this thing could go a long way towards very cheap mass production of all sorts of solid things very cheaply. There is also the RepRap project [reprap.org] but they use plastics which I'm afraid are quite expensive as resource, although they kind of target a different area. I'm excited by this, I've been following these ideas for a while and it seems to be going somewhere, I guess we're getting closer to general purpose building machines.

Re:Sand and Magnesium as resources... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527084)

Shouldn't RepRap work with that plastic alternative from (current) trees?
First thing i could find related
Plastic alternative from trees [inhabitat.com]

If it could, cheap (ish) 3D printing could be a couple decades away.

Re:Sand and Magnesium as resources... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527548)

Shrug, this isn't new.

The Alterans (Ancients, the gate builders) left god knows how many stone structures around the universe and thousands in our galaxy alone that have survived 10 million years since they left.

It makes sense that they would do something like this rather than lay massive stone blocks to build those buildings.

Not about the money (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31529016)

It's not really about the money right now, it's about finding something that works. Reprap and similar projects are mostly just trying to find materials that can be put down at high res, and will hold form even when "painting" curves etc. that have little support underneath. This would let people essentially build any object they can model in a 3d program. Otherwise, you're limited to fairly basic solid blocks and things you print, but then cut or work into smaller shapes.

If they can connect it to my office photocopier... (2, Funny)

boundary (1226600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525766)

...I'll finally be able to get that 10 foot statue of my butt that I've always wanted.

Re:If they can connect it to my office photocopier (2, Funny)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526238)

Dust is cheap, why scale down?

Structural integrity? (3, Interesting)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525780)

I know zilch about materials science, but I have to wonder how these structures would hold up as they get large. Will they be like concrete, or like sandstone? or like particle board...

Re:Structural integrity? (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526260)

Interestingly, they don't talk about that much. If you're going to build a building out of this stuff and make comparisons to Portland cement, I, for one, would like to see at least a cursory talk on strength.

Re:Structural integrity? (2, Interesting)

eth1 (94901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528232)

I can't see how this would be useful to build buildings with. How is this an advantage over bolting together a few sections of tubular forms for the columns and tossing in some rebar and concrete? Also, you'd still have to build support for the floors just like you would with traditional concrete. Not to mention having to haul and assemble a building-sized printer at the construction site.

Seems like it would be more useful for smaller, more complex items, rather than general construction.

Re:Structural integrity? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528632)

Or even something like building structures on the moon out of moon dust, where traditional construction techniques would not work. Where would I have ever gotten such a crazy idea from?

Re:Structural integrity? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526638)

Maybe like a hornets’ nest.

Re:Structural integrity? (1)

G00F (241765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527766)

Yea, it would have been great to have list some of it's properties, hardness, strength, weight, and actual time.

I don't know what the compression and tension strength is to their stone, but I wouldn't want to live in one that wasn't reinforced. Reinforced concrete is whats used for building. Reinforced with steel or iron. Concrete is week with tension, thus you want materials strong in tension, and is thermal compatible. You wont see structures built with out it for a reason. Watch the next time they build a concrete bridge, heck even most driveways have rebar in it.

Re:Structural integrity? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528144)

Yea, it would have been great to have list some of it's properties, hardness, strength, weight, and actual time.

I don't know what the compression and tension strength is to their stone, but I wouldn't want to live in one that wasn't reinforced. Reinforced concrete is whats used for building. Reinforced with steel or iron. Concrete is week with tension, thus you want materials strong in tension, and is thermal compatible. You wont see structures built with out it for a reason. Watch the next time they build a concrete bridge, heck even most driveways have rebar in it.

Keep in mind that you'd be building on the moon, where the gravitational pull is 1/6 that of earth. That will relax the structural-strength thresholds considerably. However, moonquakes might still be an issue.

Re:Structural integrity? (0, Offtopic)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528310)

Whoops, sorry ... I just noticed that this thread was not talking specifically about the moondust option. Please don't mod me off-topic...

He's paying for it? (1)

Mark4ST (249650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525812)

The designer, Enrico Dini, is even talking with various organizations about making the printer compatible with moon dust, paying the way for an instant moonbase!"

He's paying for it? Is Mr. Dini some sort of James Bond villain? (I think it could of meant paving the way.)

Re:He's paying for it? (3, Funny)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525902)

Maybe it prints money too?

Re:He's paying for it? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528608)

From a recent advertisement: The government can't print gold.

Re:He's paying for it? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528728)

I don't think the money in my wallet has sand or magnesium glue as part of its makeup. I suspect it would break into itty bitty bits if it was in my wallet and made that way.

Re:He's paying for it? (1)

kamakazi (74641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525978)

(I think it could of meant paving the way.)????

(I think it could have meant "could have meant")

For Pete's sake, if you are going to criticize accidental errors at least try to avoid stupid ones.

Re:He's paying for it? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526192)

You have 3 extra question marks. :)

Re:He's paying for it? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526130)

Sounds to me what they are saying is that he is talking to different organizations that may help pay the way for his invention to make a moon-base.

It was worded oddly.

Obligatory Zero Wing Reference... (-1, Offtopic)

Coder4Life (1396697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525816)

All your moonbase are belong to us!

Are plans available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525832)

Otherwise the reprap is already better.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525956)

The reprap is better at printing small items in expensive plastic. The D-Shape is better at printing large items in cheap stone.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526394)

The reprap you can actually have, this is another thing you can't have. No matter how nice, if you can't get one it is useless.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526710)

Why can't you have this? It's real. It exists. If I had enough money, I could buy a reprap. If I had enough money, I could also buy the D-Shape.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526938)

You can make a reprap yourself. This product not ever going to be cheap enough for you or me. Might as well get excited about GM buying new transfer presses.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527210)

I might buy a house built with this thing, though. That would be pretty cool. I know the reprap is 'better' in that it is a home hobbyist device, and I could build it. But the D-Shape is better in that it can print a frigen' house! I'm sorry, but that is pretty awesome.

I'm never going to be able to afford my own LHC, either, but I still like to read about it.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527746)

Ok true, I just love the idea of being able to print usable things. Then everyone really could own the means of production, like we already do when it comes to software.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527896)

Except for the fact that both these systems can only print solid, unjointed, non-flexible objects with a uniform consistency. And the reprap can only make items out of a completely uneconomical material, very, very slowly.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527930)

I am sure this machine is also no speed demon.

Re:Are plans available? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528380)

Did you look at it? It's HUGE. Like, orders of magnitude larger than a reprap. Bigger print heads mean faster printing.

Old technology (2, Informative)

WarlockSquire (212901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525910)

while this is certainly super-sized, this technology has been around for over a decade.
z-corp comes to mind (www.zcorp.com)

I saw them print out a rubber ball from elastic particles and flexible glue that actually bounced.
They kept the cost down early by using HP Deskjet hardware for the printing (just glue instead of ink).

cool stuff, but not new.

what can you do without scaffolding? (1)

thethirdwheel (1291594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526122)

I'm curious as to what sort of limitations the building mechanism puts on the structures. There wouldn't be any supporting superstructure holding everything in place until the building is structurally sound. Every stage would have to be able to stand up on its own power. I wonder what the impact would be on design? Would buildings that are stable at every stage of their construction be more stable upon completion? Regardless, this seems pretty damn cool.

Re:what can you do without scaffolding? (5, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526280)

The "scaffolding" is sand that hasn't been sprayed with glue. Imagine making a simple dome. You lay down a layer of sand. You glue the perimeter. The center stays unglued. Let the glue set, lay down another layer of sand, glue the perimeter. Repeat, making the perimeter smaller each time. The walls are supported by the unglued sand in the middle. When you close the top, you open the side, remove the unglued sand, and you have a dome.

This is how most of the stereolitho machines work now, save they use a support material that can be removed with a solvent that doesn't dissolve the plastic used for the parts you want to keep.

Re:what can you do without scaffolding? (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527432)

Slashdot needs a rule preventing the posting of stories about stories.

Or at the very least, fucking preventing blogs about blogs about some story.

When did slashdot become a random blog aggregator instead of news for nerds?

If you get a submission from a user thats a link to a story about some other story, don't fucking post it. Make your own damn submission with the final site in it and stop giving out all the slashvertising and wasting our time.

Alright, build it already! (3, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526334)

I always thought that we need robots to build a moonbase before we bother sending people up there again. Here's one robot that might help get the job done. Then again, it seems like a major piece of hardware that will be difficult to transport. But the idea of making stone from dust is a good one. Maybe we should half-inflate a giant balloon so its top is dome-shaped, cover it with layers of moon dirt which would be hardened with this magnesium fixative. Once the stone is thick enough, the dome will be self-supporting and a good radiation shield. The whole process might be done by a single remote-controlled backhoe with a spray-nozzle. This is the kind of cool shit that NASA should be doing.

Re:Alright, build it already! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528782)

But, why does the robot look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?

this is great news - a year ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526382)

Oh and I for one welcome our cancer causing moon dust overlords.

Mmmmh... non-durable glue! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526510)

Wanna bet that those building will start to fall apart just when you realize you got a deadly disease from sniffing glue and breathing dust all the time? ;)

The summary links to a blog quoting a blog ... (5, Informative)

IMustBeNewHere (899319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526804)

The original story [blueprintmagazine.co.uk] is longer, with more pictures...

Re:The summary links to a blog quoting a blog ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527362)

And appears to contain links to malware, thank you very much....

Re:The summary links to a blog quoting a blog ... (1)

IMustBeNewHere (899319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527804)

Um, it is the website for a architecture publication, found by following the links in the aforementioned blogs. So, care to be more specific?

The original you linked to contains a trojan (3, Informative)

electrongunner (579335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528564)

The page you linked to contains the Trojan:JS/Gamburl.E. MSFT Security Essentials just flagged it and removed it from my browser cache.

Paving the way ... (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527392)

making the printer compatible with moon dust, paying the way for an instant moonbase!

Not paying, PAVING.

God do you people even think about what you're typing or saying when you use phrases like this? Did it ever once occur to you to think about what you're saying and how much sense it makes?

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (1, Insightful)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527676)

Hey. Has anyone noticed that building there before?

Get to the choppah! Naow!!

I created buildings from dust and glue (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527846)

Of course, I was six at the time, and the buildings were only suitable for ants, grasshoppers and spider and snails. Admittedly I also had significant compatibility and upgrade problems which were quickly fixed with a "light spanking" patch.

Something similar has been done already (1)

cartman (18204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527914)

Here:

http://www.contourcrafting.org/ [contourcrafting.org]

Reminds me of... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528406)

"Contour Crafting" [wikipedia.org] , which is being developed by a Dr. Koshnevis at USC. His approach is to have a robot lay a line of concrete and trowel it smooth as it's placed. I guess you could say that TFA describes a raster-type 3D printer, where Koshnevis has a vector-type 3D plotter.

-jcr

cory and the printers (1)

didimitrie (1382553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528560)

this is fucking awesome. imagine now cory doctrow writing a book about printing cities. that's kinda cool, not? supply the masses with suburbia at will.

Ok, how's the strength? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31528824)

Cool tech, but before I'd live in a printed building, I'd want to know how its strength compares to reinforced concrete, particularly when subjected to a seismic event.

-jcr

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