The whole system is a giant, mobile 3D printer, and the MIT team believes it could help and improve to revolutionize home construction here on Earth and some other planets in the distant future.
The main construction and components on the mobile 3D printer
The Digital Construction Platform looks as awkward as its name. A nozzle is attached to the end of the robotic arms the 3D printer vehicle is outfitted with tank treads. Then there is a trailer that is properly fitted, with two big metal tanks strapped to its top. The idea of printing a house is a new concept, of course. It’s been tried before with not that much of success. What sets this project apart from much of its competition, is the thing that the mobile 3D printing system is capable of printing a structure in one single go.
The system is freed of the special constraints of a more traditional 3D printer by the long industrial robotic arm out front. Another, a more precise arm is attached to the end of it, allowing it to be controlled with a beater precision. This gives the system much a larger build space than a traditional three dimensional printing, which is constrained by the limited volume of its print bed.
Mobile 3D printer used to make a 12-foot-high dome from foam and concrete
The team has been working on the mobile 3D printer since 2011. In the morning, it showcased on YouTube with a video, which features the 3D printer constructing a 12-foot-high dome that was made from foam and concrete, creating a structure that is more solid, while still has space wires and pipes to be inserted on its side.In all, the process took a tad under 14 hours to complete. However, the video is just the beginning of the team goals. Steven Keating, a recent Ph.D. grad in mechanical engineering, authored the paper on the project that went live this week.
In the future 3D printers can be used for building homes and even more
The mobile 3D printing system can be programmed and can be operated by just pushing a button. But if the platform is going to do things in extreme conditions like the Antarctic tundra, it’s going to take full autonomy. The future planning of the project is to make a self-sufficient robotic system, Keating explains. “Our 3D printer is being developed toward the design goal of being able to gather its own energy. We’ve shown that through photovoltaic energy, and being capable of grabbing and using local materials and resources.”
The industry is trying to make the three dimensional printing even better
With the proper combination of sensors, the system can customize a build based on conditions like light and weather and can utilize its own surroundings as the basis of its structures. The main thing is to create a mobile 3D printing service with more different functions working in tandem to create a stable structure, including digging or milling, in addition to the three d printing.