3D Printing The Roads

By on March 29th, 2010 in Ideas

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There’s a wonderful concept device produced by designers Hoyoung Lee, Doyoung Kim, and Hongku Kim called the “Road Printer”. Click on the image for larger detail. The idea is to have a solar-powered robot paint those nice lines on our roadways. This should be inexpensive and offer a lot more safety than having live crews out on the roadways. As well, the device could reliably produce more innovative and accurate road surface signage. 
This reminds us of 3D building printers, which have been researched and tested over the past few years. These giant printers can produce buildings and exterior structures such as statues and monuments. 
But what if you combined the two concepts together? Put wheels on the building printer? We think you’d have a real Road Printer. Not just painting the lines, but the very road itself. In a sense today’s asphalt and concrete roadwork devices are similar to this concept, but they are very simplistic and can produce only uniform road designs. What benefits and opportunities could 3D printing concepts bring to Road Printing? Standard curb designs? Guaranteed fit to design codes? Varying surface textures based on situational analysis? Embedded signage? Alternate materials for problematic joints? Speed control bumps proportional to safety regulations? The possibilities are limitless!

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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