3-D Printer Creates Entire Buildings From Solid Rock
by Sarah Parsons, 03/17/10
Imagine a 3-d printer so large that it can spit out entire buildings made from stone. Sounds science fiction-y, right? But that’s exactly what designer Enrico Dini created with his prototype D-Shape printer. Dini hopes to use the printer to create buildings made of stone and eventually, moon dust.
The printing process starts with a thin layer of sand. The printer then sprays the sand with magnesium-based glue from hundreds of nozzles, which binds the sand into rock. That rock is then built up layer by layer, eventually taking shape of whatever object it is destined to become, be it a curvy sculpture or an entire cathedral. Dini has even been talking with La Scuola Normale Superiore, Alta Space and Norman Foster to design a printer that would work with moon dust, essentially creating a machine that can make an almost-instant moonbase!
We’re not sure that anyone will really bring D-Shape to the moon, but it is totally amazing to think about the implications a printer like this could have on construction here on Earth. Dini claims the printer is four times faster than conventional building, costs one-third to one-half the price of Portland cement and creates very little waste, so it’s better for the environment. Color us seriously impressed.