Ever since summer 2012, I worked on research in 3D printing at the MIT Media Lab in the Mediated Matter Group working with Steven Keating and Professor Neri Oxman. I was part of a team that investigates large scale 3D printing building. I have worked on multiple parts of this large end goal which I will happily show below! Recently my lab was featured on CNN! Check us out on CNN
Since 3D printing is an automated CNC process, there are many advantages that 3D printing buildings will have over normal construction. One of my favorite aspects that shows some of the full potential 3D printing buildings has in store is that almost any type of building shape you can think of might be possible! Because the building is constructed literally layer by layer the architectural possibilities are almost endless.
I am worked on integrating an electro-mechanical controls system into a large hydraulic boom arm in order to turn it into a large CNC platform. The goal of this work is to establish a similar system as the one shown below.
HERE IS ONE OF THE POSSIBLE BUILDINGS THAT COULD BE CONSTRUCTED WITH OUR PRINTING METHOD
As shown above, the outer shell of a house is being constructed out of polyurethane insulation foam. In our process the outside and inside walls of the building will be extruded simultaneously and then the gap in between is left to later be filled by concrete. An example of a completed wall section ready for concrete pouring is shown below.
AS SHOWN, THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE WALLS HAVE BEEN EXTRUDED BY A KUKA ROBOTIC ARM
Since the building has the potential to be any non-conventional shape, we ran into the problem concerning reinforment. I was confronted with the task of designing a reinforcement system with the ability to conform to the shape of any 3D printed building. At first I designed an interlocking metal and cable lattice that could be placed as foam is being extruded.
THESE PIECES WERE DESIGNED TO BE COMPOSED OF MULTIPLE INTERLOCKING PIECES, ALLOWING FOR LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING
After designing this form of reinforcement, I ultimately decided against it because of its complication and the difficulty we would have implementing it with a robot. I went back to the drawing board to contsruct a more modular approach to reinforcements
AS SHOWN ABOVE IS MY FULLY ASSEMBLED REINFORCEMENT PROTOTYPE THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO CLAMP ON TO TRADITIONAL REBAR FOR CONCRETE POUTING
After I designed this prototype we quickly moved to test printing it and water testing it.
Once the reinforcements were designed I was confronted with the task of designing and manufacturing an automated machine to be interfaced with the robotic arm that has the ability to dispense reinforcements. I started out with a relatively simple mached up design laser cut out of poster board.
AS SHOWN LAYING DOWN ON ITS BACK, THIS MACHINE IS DESIGNED TO GRAVITY FEED REINFORCEMENTS THROUGH THE BOTTOM GEAR
- The general principle is that the gear will roll over the outside of the reinforcements dispensing one at a time.
SHOWN ABOVE IS THE FINAL VERSION OF MY AUTOMATED REINFORCEMENT PLACEMENT MACHINE. IT IS INTERFACED WITH AN ARDUINO RUNNING A SCRIPT THAT WILL TELL IT TO PLACE REINFORCEMENTS ON COMMAND.