3D printing on a large scale has been around for a few years now, but it couldn’t make much of an impact in the construction industry due to some problems that exist in the use of this technology. A team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of California have worked out a way to solve these problems and help in the construction of bigger buildings. They have built a group of tiny robots which can help in the construction of 3D-printed buildings.
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As mentioned earlier, there are some problems that are faced by the existing technology. One of them is that the printers need to be larger in size than the structures which are going to be built. Another problem which is faced while designing traditional 3D printed buildings is the requirement of support structures. The robots that have been created by the researchers have overcome these problems.
The researchers at the Institute have recently displayed a new kind of construction robot which they have named as Minibuilders. The plan behind these autonomous bots is to make the construction process a greener and cheaper one, by dividing up the tasks. Both of the problems are expected to be overcome by Minibuilders.
According to Sasa Jokic and Petr Novikov, the lead researchers, the tiny robots can perform different tasks at the same time. They can also create objects of almost any scale, as much as the properties of the material allows for. These robots can be easily transported to the site of construction. The helpful features add to their efficiency and decrease the environmental footprint of construction.
The Working Process of Minibuilders
Adele Peters, staff writer at Fast Company explains the process in a simple way:
The tiny robots work in teams to spurt out material that solidifies into the casing of the building. There are foundation robots which move in a track to create the first 20 layers of the building. Next a group of “grip” robots fix together the top or the sides of the construction thereby adding frames for doors and windows, ceilings and more layers. At the end, there are vacuum robots which strengthen the entire building by adding one more layer.
The process is simple and the researchers have shown that their concept can be used practically. However, it is too early to expect that these tiny bots will start building skyscrapers in the cities.
What do you say?
Do you think Minibuilders can help in constructing large 3D printed buildings? Will 3D printing now make a positive impact on the construction industry with this innovation? Look forward to your insights in the comments section.
Image Source – www.citylifemagazine.ca