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LOL People said the same thing about pre-fab and modular housing.

There is a place for this tech, imho.

However

It's an automated gantry crane. Needs to run on rails and be assembled and disassembled onsite. Good for large scale track housing on fairly flat developments. Concrete is expensive and the main structural material, wood is much less and the labor of similar track housing is dirt cheap errrr I meant really competitive in north America. There are many reasons why the wood frame home, there/here, is not going anywhere. This tech would be ideal for development in the mid east, africa ect ......

and

Acceptance of this by real people, in the North America/US anyway, LOL maybe far in the future. Won't make much of an impact within my lifetime anyway.
 

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3d printing, in general terms, is a major game changer.

My brother in law wired up 4 of these in town last year. The owner gave him a 3d printed mechanical sample he brought home to show me. It was a cube with like 8 helical gears all on axles working together. I took one look at that and it became clear to me this is a big time game changer.
 

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The architecture firm my wife used to work for had one. Coolest thing. Only drawback... it took foooooooreeeeeeeeeeeeever to make aaaaaaaanything. If you wanted a model chair, program it at the end of the day, it'll be done by the next morning.

When it gets faster and you can start doing things on the fly, it's potential is virtually limitless. They're cropping up all over too. A friend of mine who works for the library is using a portion of his budget to get a 3D printer and set up a maker's lab in the library. Pretty awesome.

As far is these things taking our jobs goes, I don't think that's going to happen. Maybe it will be able to produce some of the forms we use in building, but it sure won't be able to install them anytime soon.
 

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Here is a windshield defrost plumbing design I did at the begging of year for a fighter aircraft and my report. I since left the company to start my own construction company. My co worker's called me a couple weeks ago and said the parts turned out great! I don't have pics. Another term for it is "rapid prototype" since many industries use it for a prelim look at designs (prototype). Today these parts are feeding production lines at a rate as fast as any other production processes (machine parts, sheet metal, etc) in aircraft, powersports, auto industries, etc.












I'll be back later with where I think this heading in construction and some of the challenges.
 

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My prediction for the 3D printer is that there will be a bunch of people using it to build stuff that doesn't work or is otherwise non-functional.

I agree that it's a game changer, but because you still need to have some degree of knowledge and expertise about the item that you are creating, I seriously doubt that this will eliminate the need for skilled craftsmen.

As an example, if you printed a house room by room, you still need guys on site to dig the footings and to make sure that the framing is secured to the foundation, etc..

The 3D printer won't replace framing crews. It will just enable the crews to build more buildings in less time. Then I also figure that even in pre-fab construction, there is still a degree of stick-building that you have to do on site to fill in the gaps that the engineers in the factory could not replicate from the drawings.
 

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Build a home in only 20 hours. Will this technology eventually lead to making some trades obsolete.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdbJP8Gxqog
Main thing to take note of here is the curvatures you can obtain, especially roofs, that take wind loads down drastically. That alone from a structural aspect makes it easier to pass codes/allowables than ‘box” structures we know today. The remote tool design and production planning here needs development, a way to control a NC head I show in the picture above. Anyone that thinks this world cannot solve small tool design issues such as this knows what they don’t. If we can build an aircraft out of a plastic skin such as the Boeing Dreamliner I helped design and build btw, this will be a walk in the park. There are other issues not addressed in this video of a bigger concern I’ll get to shortly.

The architecture firm my wife used to work for had one. Coolest thing. Only drawback... it took foooooooreeeeeeeeeeeeever to make aaaaaaaanything. If you wanted a model chair, program it at the end of the day, it'll be done by the next morning.
The process you are referring to is Stereolithography (SLA), old and outdated that was very slow and produced brittle parts. We use to use it 20 years ago, it may be older than that. Today, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) I show above and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) which has been around longer. FDM and SLS companies have got rid of their SLA machines. FDM (my parts) needs support structure as you ‘grow’ the part. What I mean by grow, think of spaghetti or lasagna strands of plastic being layer on top of one another that are heat and pressure fused together, the CAD model is scanned in .005-.015 increments to lay down another strand. As you might imagine where the fusion takes place is the weak link so, it is critical in FDM how you grow the part (what axis) that is based on the service loads. In some cases, you have to grow two parts two different directions then bond them together (another weak link). It is comparable to grain structure in wood where there are different properties across it vs along it. So this is a big challenge for homes since there are so many directions to satisfy loads, when considering a whole house design-build. Another challenge is “support structure”. What I mean here is as you grow the part you often need it to support the design from collapsing until the part is complete. The manufacturing engineer will add it to the designers model, trick is not trapping it so it can be removed later.

Here is a blow up of my blower duct I had to separate to get the support structure out. As you might imagine my manufacturing engineer wanted a min of .125 thick for stability, I needed too for a good bond line. The adhesive selection is critical since we had to satisfy internal burst pressure of 30 psig and 1200F. So you can see as you integrate systems into wall structure you have many loads (burst, shear, bending, etc) you may have to satisfy, very challenging! As the material technology develops the need for support structure hopefully goes away. And whoever thought being a good CAD modeler makes a good engineer ;)



One way to take care of the fusion weak area is to support it with a honeycomb core where the two skins and core are made together, if you are familiar with "sandwich structure" that has been around for decades. For a home shear wall insulating it may be a challenge, but just as metal and composites it can be filled if the design has access which may mean leaving the inner skin off. Due to brittleness these plastics do not like fastening, so bonding is the preferred choice today. Once the bugs are worked out it will lend itself to 2012 IECC and tighter requirements. http://www.energycodes.gov/sites/de...uide Air Leakage Guide_Sept2011_v00_lores.pdf

SLS uses powder, needs no ‘support structure’ since it is supported by a powder. The powder is fed to the CNC head fused with heat and pressure vs. liquid FDM. Problem for homes is the powder can become contaminated if not controlled and degrade structure.

Material mechanical, thermal, UV protection is another challenge, flex, tensile at the fusion, etc. FDM has the most advanced material strength, and the cost is coming down fast that is also offset by a large reduction in labor hours. Time to build a new home in 3-6 month range won’t be much of a challenge with the right materials and processes. Integration of plumbing, structural electrical, HVAC, etc, into wall structure very feasible in the future.



"Check out, "The House that Larry Printed."


Interesting approach but does not capture the full potential of this technology. His solution to the remote tool issues, and producing smaller sections to handle the low fusion strengths, are to reduce bending. A high rise single structure would not sustain the 75 mph winds his FEM (Finite Element Model) shown would on smaller panels. One could call this an approach that reduced assemble hours and materials cost on a small scale. If he tries to integrate systems he will not get the full effect.

"i got to see this women speak, she is amazing. not only will houses be printed but they will be printed from a material that can contract and expand depending on the weather."

http://web.media.mit.edu/~neri/site/index.html

The flex modulus property of the plastic you are referring to is critical, not having enough makes brittle parts, however in my experience as it goes up other important properties like tensile go down. A challenge. In the past 3-5 years more materials have hit the aircraft and auto industry and many of these problems are going away. As you can imagine these industries design to much higher loads and tolerances, so once the bugs are worked out construction won’t be rocket science.

My prediction for the 3D printer is that there will be a bunch of people using it to build stuff that doesn't work or is otherwise non-functional.

I agree that it's a game changer, but because you still need to have some degree of knowledge and expertise about the item that you are creating, I seriously doubt that this will eliminate the need for skilled craftsmen.

As an example, if you printed a house room by room, you still need guys on site to dig the footings and to make sure that the framing is secured to the foundation, etc..

The 3D printer won't replace framing crews. It will just enable the crews to build more buildings in less time. Then I also figure that even in pre-fab construction, there is still a degree of stick-building that you have to do on site to fill in the gaps that the engineers in the factory could not replicate from the drawings.
Agree, a lack of knowledge still exist in the aircraft industry for structural applications. Next time you fly or drive your car look around many of those interior plastic parts are made or are being replaced by this technology. My design reduced labor and material ( compared to metal, fiberglass or graphite lay-ups) cost by 2/3.

I would not worry too much about "people not knowing what they are doing" attempting to develop this tech in construction, that is going to take alot of funding. The cost will be high at first, come down over time just like everything else.

You won’t eliminate labor but, it will be drastically reduced it’s just a matter of time, as I have watched this tech over the past two decades it is moving rapidly! It will not only change the construction game but the real-estate market as a whole. :thumbsup:
 
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