Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new robot, which can print the basic structure of a building in 3D within 14 hours. Inventors of this technology reveal that the 3D printing robot can be used for faster and cheaper construction of buildings.
MIT researchers assert that their robotic system can construct a building much faster, when compared to the conventional constructional methods.
The robotic system is flexible and can customize a building design in tandem with the needs of a particular site, or the maker's wishes. Moreover, the 3D printing robot can also alter the building's internal structure according to the requirement.
Different materials can be integrated into the printing system and one can also alter the material density for different amounts of insulation, strength, and other properties.
Digital Construction Platform: Robot That 3D Prints Buildings
Researchers have dubbed the MIT manufactured robotic system Digital Construction Platform or DCP. The robot's makers explain it is an automated construction system, which is competent to construct structures using 3D printing techniques.
"Digital Construction Platform (DCP), an automated construction system capable of customized on-site fabrication of architectural-scale structures using real-time environmental data for process control," the authors wrote in the research paper.
The system consists of a compound arm made of electric and hydraulic robotic arms, on top of a tracked mobile platform. For the construction of the insulated architectural formwork, the researchers at MIT developed and incorporated an additive into the 3D printing robot system.
The big industrial robotic arm atop the mobile platform has a smaller robotic arm attached to it at the end for precise movement. This robotic arm is quite convenient to handle and can be easily used to move any construction nozzle for spraying insulation material or pouring concrete.
How Was The Efficiency And Functioning Of DCP Determined?
The newly-developed 3D robotic system can construct an object of any size unlike normal 3D printing systems, which use a fixed structure to encase the nozzles.
To prove that the new 3D system can build an object of any size, the researchers deployed the robot to build a 12-foot-high dome. This dome's diameter was 50 feet. The system successfully constructed the dome in less than 14 hours, with an exact fabrication time of less than 13.5 hours.
The 3D printing robot used polyurethane foam to make the molds. The gap between two molds was filled with concrete. Researchers are now aiming to develop the technology and make it advanced enough to send it to Mars or moon for constructional purposes.
"The ultimate vision is in the future, to have something totally autonomous, that you could send to the moon or Mars or Antarctica, and it would just go out and make these buildings for years," Steven Keating, the lead author of the paper expressed.
The finding of the study have been published in journal Science Robotics, on Wednesday, April 26.
Watch the below video to see how the DCP constructs primary structures.