It’s not a simple task to produce glass objects using 3D printing technologies, as just a few groups of researchers around the world have attempted this feat using additive methods. There have been objects made by printing molten glass, but one disadvantage is that this requires extremely high temperatures and heat-resistant equipment. Other methods include powdered ceramic particles that can be printed at room temperature and then sintered later to create glass, but the resulting sculptures are not complex to say the least. ETH Zurich researchers have devised a method to change all of this.
Photo credit: GXN
GXN Innovation has partnered with Dansk AM Hub and MAP Architects to start a “Break the Grid” initiative for construction technologies. In addition to addressing environmental issues, like climate change, the team hopes to one day create 3D-printed robots that can crawl, swim and fly, to repair things in the environment wherever they’re needed. The robot you see above is designed to create artificial reefs by extruding a mixture of sand, glue, and a binder, all extracted from the ocean.
The Marine Corps Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (MCSC) initiative partnered with the I Marine Expeditionary Force to create a 512-square-foot “B-Hut” in 40 hours using the world’s largest 3D printer at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. The first thing you’ll notice is its rectangular design with cut outs for windows, but zig-zagging walls, and that’s because printing them like this makes the structure 2.5-times stronger than a typical reinforced concrete wall.