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Hardware Science Technology

Printing a Building 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are trying to push 3-D printing technology even further. Their goals: create whole working machines and perhaps even buildings. Thus far, 3D printing has been used to make shapes of plastic or metal that can be assembled later. These folks want to change that. One idea is to use concrete in a novel way: 'Not only would it be possible to create fanciful, organic-looking shapes that would be difficult or impossible using molds, but the technique could also allow the properties of the concrete itself to vary continuously, producing structures that are both lighter and stronger than conventional concrete. To illustrate this, Keating uses the example of a palm tree compared to a typical structural column. In a concrete column, the properties of the material are constant, resulting in a very heavy structure. But a palm tree’s trunk varies: denser at the outside and lighter toward the center. As part of his thesis research, he has already made sections of concrete with the same kind of variations of density.'"
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Printing a Building

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  • by Thud457 (234763) on Friday September 16, 2011 @12:14PM (#37422130) Homepage Journal
    The shades of Antoni Gaudi and Nader Khalili approve of this research.
  • ok i get it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nimbius (983462) on Friday September 16, 2011 @01:02PM (#37422680) Homepage
    a dedicated subset of slashdotters think 3d printing is the salvation of all mankind. its not.
    3d printing a building completely disregards the fact that buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes, wind, fire, flood, and a host of other
    complex forces that even a cursory glance at your whimsical little makerbot will confirm do not in fact just stop existing because you learned
    how to extrude hot plastic and layer it into fun little shapes. things like ventilation, plumbing, and electricity are hard enough without some
    shitty graduate students wormscrew-driven toy factored into the equation. If you dont believe me, drive downtown and take a look at the sheer amount of
    equipment and manpower required to erect a multi-story building. you'll spend two months just digging the foundation before your squeezy cheeze
    manufacturing system is found to be completely incompatible with a marsh surface like chicago. Or start constructing only to realize your plastic extruded window
    frames dont work with the arizona sun, causing every floor-to-ceiling glass inlay to explode under thermal expansion forces at about noon. or recoil in horror when
    you find a crack at the corner of the building which should have stopped at 5" instead extends the length of the building and through the foundation.

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