Evidence of a Potential SpaceX-Related 3D Printed Construction Uncovered

By on October 20th, 2023 in news, Usage

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Mystery 3D printed construction project in Texas [Source: WAI / YouTube]

I spotted evidence of an unusual construction 3D print taking place that might involve SpaceX.

While watching a video covering news coming from SpaceX’s Starbase operations in south Texas, a segment showed what appears to be a large 3D printed concrete structure.

The presenter explained that this site was formerly a SpaceX experimental educational institution, but now seems to be under construction.

The segment is at 10:43 into this video:

All we have to go on is the image of the construction site, so let’s take a look.

We can see a mostly circular structure that is clearly 3D printed using a construction 3D printer. The curvy walls are quite reminiscent of structures produced by layered concrete extrusion.

It appears that the 3D printing has been completed, as the crew seems to be working on a roof for the one-story structure. I cannot see a construction 3D printer in the vicinity, so it’s likely been moved on to other projects.

It’s important to remember that construction 3D printers do not produce entire buildings. They merely print the concrete portions of a structure. The remaining aspects, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, flooring, windows, surface finishes, and roofing are all done using conventional approaches. That’s what we’re seeing in this image.

Because the printer is now departed, it’s hard to say which company’s equipment was used on this project. The two major suspects would be COBOD and ICON.

My guess is that the printer used on this project was from ICON. There are two reasons for believing so. First, it’s a single-story structure, which is the style most frequently done by ICON. The curves and shape seem quite similar to other ICON projects we’ve seen.

Secondly, ICON is based in Texas, the same state as this project’s location. That proximity might increase the probability that ICON was involved, given that COBOD is based in Denmark and has fewer partners in the US.

There’s one more notable thing about this project. We haven’t heard anything about it from any other news source, and that doesn’t fit the pattern over the past few years.

Most of the time we see copious press releases from companies touting their amazing 3D printed building projects. We see announcements for the first two-story print, the first print in Idaho, the largest building printed, the first hog barn printed, etc.

This structure is quite large, and might even be the biggest 3D printed concrete structure made so far.

Yet there’s no press release we can see on this project. It may be that the project sponsor may not require publicity.

Does this mean that construction 3D printing is going mainstream? Are we at the point where it is no longer necessary to announce a 3D printed building?

Is construction 3D printing now normal?

Someday it will be. Maybe that day is today.

Via WAI/YouTube

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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