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3D Printed Buildings

April 28, 2017

Giant robotic 3D printers can rapidly construct whole buildings, and could build moon bases, remote research stations, and more.

Transcript

The Digital Contrusction Platform at work. (Mediated Matter MIT)

The Digital Construction Platform at work. (Mediated Matter MIT)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A 3D printer for buildings. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

3D printers can do some pretty amazing things. But MIT’s Digital Construction Platform is the grandaddy of them all – capable of printing small buildings. Mechanical engineer Steven Keating says it’s essentially an 8,000 pound robotic arm that moves around on tank tracks and can be powered by the sun.

STEVE KEATING (MIT):

We were able to experimentally show that with this robotic platform we could print architectural scale structures on-site in a very rapid fashion. The system 3D printed a 14.6 meter diameter open dome all in under 14 hours of time.

HIRSHON:

Keating’s team reports in Science Robotics that the machine can excavate local materials, creating components of varying densities, colors, and shapes. He says the robots could be deployed in space to build a custom moon base, for example, or at radiation cleanup sites too unsafe for human construction crews. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard

The Digital Contruction Platform showing digger and photovoltaic panels. (Mediated Matter MIT)

The Digital Construction Platform showing digger and photovoltaic panels. (Mediated Matter MIT)