Tag Archives: 3d manufacturing

Ten photos of 3D printed bridges, buildings and other supersized structures

By , June 22, 2015, 6:20 AM PST // @nickjheath

If you thought 3D printers were only good for building tiny plastic toys then you’re mostly right, especially when it comes to desktop models.

However, there are people using the technology to realize grander designs, to create bridges and even buildings. Here are 10 projects promising to make 3D printing bigger and better.



A Dutch start-up, MX3D, plans to use robotic arms to weld layer upon layer of molten steel together into a steel bridge across a canal in Amsterdam. MX3D hopes to begin work on building the bridge, using the process seen in an artist’s impression above, in September.

Image: MX3D



This five-storey building was built using a 150-meter long 3D printer, using “ink” made from recycled construction waste. When it was built earlier this year, the structure in Suzhou Industrial Park, Shanghai, China, was claimed to be the “world’s tallest 3D-printed building”.

Image: WinSun Decoration Design Engineering



This concept for a 3D-printed lunar base was devised by the European Space Agency with architects Foster+Partners. Their vision is for two robot 3D printers to mix lunar soil with other materials and layer it over an inflatable dome to form a protective shell over a moonbase, which could house four people.

Image: ESA



The Strati is an electric car with a 3D printed body and chassis made of just 40 parts, compared to more than 20,000 in a typical vehicle. The vehicle is built from a single block of ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fiber and takes 44 hours to print. Manufacturer, Arizona-based Local Motors, says the car, due for release in 2016, will have a top speed of 50mph and range of about 62 miles.

Image: Local Motors



This nine-feet high pavillion measures 12 by 12 feet across and is made up of 840 3D-printed bricks. The structure was made by researchers at UC Berkeley, who developed a new type of iron oxide-free Portland cement polymer formulation, which allowed for faster and lower cost construction than alternate materials for 3D-printing structures.

Image: UC Berkeley



Even though it’s described as a house, this is at best a 3D-printed room, and a rather cosy one at that. The pod, created by students in the US and England, packs a toilet, kitchenette, and furniture into a compact structure. It took 60 hours for the voxeljet VX4000 printer to make and cost about €60,000.

Image: voxeljet



This plane is full of 3D printed parts. This Airbus A350 XWB plane has more than 1,000 flight components made using high-end additive manufacturing 3D printers. The A350 XWB is Airbus’ extra wide body plane that seats about 315 passengers and has a range of 7,750 nautical miles. The parts were made out of ULTEM 9085 resin using an FDM 3D Production Systems machine.

Image: Airbus



Satellite company Rocket Lab says its Rutherford rocket engine is the first of its type to use 3D printing for its primary components. All its parts – the regeneratively cooled thrust chamber, the injector, the pumps and the main propellant valves – can be printed from titanium alloys within about three days using a 3D printing technique called electron beam melting. Traditionally manufacturing the parts would take months, according to Rocket Lab.

Image: Rocket Lab


Sizable sculptures

Resembling a Minecraft creation made real, this 3D-printed head by artist Miguel Chevalier depicts the Roman God Janus, who legend claimed could gaze into the past and the future at the same time. Printed in 40 hours as a single block using a voxeljet VX4000 printer, it weighs 120kg and measures 1000 x 1000 x 820 mm.

Image: voxeljet


Building bots

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia claim their Minibuilder robots can construct large structures of many different proportions. The bots use robotic arms, rollers and vacuum suction cups to build layer by layer, as seen above.

Image: Institute for Advanced Architecture

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.


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3d printing of guns – update

As followers know, I have said that 3d printing will change everything as we know it.  In an earlier post, I discussed how guns can be printed, and another post talks about how the military uses 3d printing for making knives and other tools.  Here is an update on this revolutionary technology:

Print and fire: 3D printing could muzzle new gun laws


Published February 13, 2013


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    Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed testing out the “Cuomo Clip” (DefenseDistributed.com)

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    A computer rendering of a “Cuomo Clip”, a 30-round ammo magazine for the AR-15 rifle. (DefenseDistributed.com)

Gun owners who can’t buy high capacity ammo magazines because of new laws have another option: Print them.

Gun control measures passed or proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre have targeted magazines that can feed 30 rounds or more into the firing chambers of AR-15s and other semi-automatic guns. New York has banned magazines holding more than seven rounds, and a federal bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

But the laws are at least one step behind technology. Using 3D printers and schematics available on the Internet, gun owners can manufacture a fully functional, plastic magazine clip. Plans are free, although getting access to a 3D printer may prove expensive, at least for now.

“If you can download it, you can have it.”

– Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed/Wiki Weapons Project 

“If you can download it, you can have it,” said University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, who is part of Defense Distributed, a group that has created the design for what they refer to as a “Cuomo Clip” along with other gun parts. It is all under an initiative they refer to as the Wiki Weapon Project.

“It’s basically to head them [legislators] off at the pass, which we have,” Wilson added, noting that “hundreds of thousands” of visitors have gone to his group’s site to download the CAD file for the ammo magazine since it was first posted in mid-January.

The “Cuomo Clip,” named for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who pushed the high-capacity clip ban through the Legislature, is made from a plastic filament similar to the type of material used to manufacture LEGO building blocks. It is also loaded with a large spring that helps to push rounds of ammo into the gun chamber.

The ammo magazine clip appears to be durable; Defense Distributed test-fired 86 rounds from a 30-round prototype last month, and the clip showed no signs of damage.

The cutting edge technology, in which three-dimensional objects can be manufactured from melted plastic thread, is likely to complicate efforts to control firearms. No such ability existed in 1994, when large-capacity clips were first banned in an initial federal assault weapons ban that lasted a decade.

Although the new ban proposed by Feinstein would prohibit the manufacture of magazines, it focuses on traditional arms makers and sellers. How the law might be enforced against individuals making their own magazines — and possibly even guns in the future — is unclear.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., has called for amending the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, which initially sought to ban guns that could be sneaked through metal detectors, to include a ban on “homemade, 3-D printed, plastic high-capacity magazines.”

“Congress passed a law banning plastic guns for two decades when they were just a movie fantasy,” Israel told FoxNews.com. “With the advent of 3-D printers, these guns are suddenly a real possibility, and the law Congress passed is set to expire this year.

“We should act now to give law enforcement authorities the power to stop the development of these weapons before terrorists and criminals can easily bring them on planes. We need to be proactive and keep ahead of the technology. When the legislation was originally passed in 1988, no one would have imagined that parts of a gun and a magazine could be made with a printer — imagine what the technology will be even five years down the road.”

Defense Distributed and the Wiki Weapons Project also has made schematics of other parts of the AR-15 and other weapons and modifications, including pistol grips, but has avoided attempting to design and distribute plans for a fully-functional gun.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/02/13/print-draw-fire-3d-printing-could-muzzle-new-gun-laws/#ixzz2KoiE5x24

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Personal Manufacturing Through 3D Printing

There is a revolution coming in the way we live that has already started.  You are of course familiar with taking a file and printing it on your printer.  It makes a two dimensional image, first in black and white, now in amazing color.  But imagine using a printer that prints in THREE dimensions.  Instead of ink, it uses steel, plastic, fibers, rubber, or other materials.  You design and object on a computer file, then “print it” using these materials.  You need shoes, put in the rubber, plastic, etc., download your own shoe design and size to the printer, print them out and put them on your feet.

Sound crazy?  It is here right now.  As prices come down, expect the next generation of our children to grow up, buy a design online, customize it, and print manufacture their own items at home.  It is the closest thing to a Star Trek style replicator we have come up with so far.  Here is a video that explains the process:


Three dimensional printing will bring personal manufacturing to the world.  Amazing.

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