Book of the Week: Printing Architecture

By on June 22nd, 2021 in book

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Book of the Week: Printing Architecture
Printing Architecture [Source: Amazon]

This week’s selection is “Printing Architecture: Innovative Recipes for 3D Printing” by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello.

The use of 3D printing for architecture has up to now mostly been limited to producing miniature replicas of proposed buildings, and while that’s quite useful, the real deal is when 3D printing is used to literally produce the actual architecture.

Construction 3D printing is the term we use here to refer to this technology, and at the current moment it’s still a nascent process. Most of the activity surrounds basic construction 3D printers that are essentially CNC versions of the classic concrete pump.

The concrete they extrude can be used to construct buildings, but the slumpy nature of concrete means you cannot 3D print any overhangs and thus the complexity of designs is severely constrained.

Thus the use of “architecture” in current construction 3D printing is relegated to curvy walls and not much more.

This book attempts to go beyond those limitations by exploring the use of alternative materials for construction 3D printing. Unlike concrete, other materials could potentially include the right properties for building complex objects, and that could open up many architectural possibilities.

What are these alternative materials? It turns out the authors describe the use of many very unusual substances for construction 3D printing, some I’d never considered.

For example, one of their materials is salt! It’s a powder and like other 3D printable powders, could be 3D printed with the right type of process.

Similarly, they also explore sawdust, newsprint, coffee, tea and waste from wine production. They look at 3D printed rubber, bioplastic and sand. Finally they explore the use of concrete and clay, materials that have long been used in experimental construction 3D printing.

How can these materials be 3D printed? The authors include a final chapter of “recipes” in which they explain how one can combine liquid binders with various types of powders to selectively solidify materials into useful shapes.

If you’re curious about the future of construction 3D printing, this could be a book of interest.

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Via Amazon

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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