Preliminary Research and Documentation
The following research and documentation is meant to get this project started. Please consider this a work in progress. Significant work is needed to move this project forward.
A concrete 3D printer comprises of the following:
- 3D design software
- Concrete as a 3D print material
- Gantry and gantry crane
3D Design Software
A 3D software application is used to create the design of the structure. This is then sent to the 3D printer for printing.
Concrete as a 3D Print Material
Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, crushed stone, Portland cement mixed with water. Water in the concrete acts as a binding agent. The aggregates (sand and crushed stone) in the mixture are bound together by cement. The size of these aggregates is an important factor to consider when creating concrete.
Water in concrete activates the cement, which acts as the binding agent. Aggregates (coarse and fine) in the mix are bound together by the cement. Mixes that use larger aggregates tend to be stronger than those with finer aggregates.
Collaborators need to research on the exact amount of aggregates and cement mixtures to ensure that the structure is long lasting.
An extruder is a component that lays concrete layer by layer to build the structure. The extruder must be capable of printing objects of different sizes. The extruder consists of 2 parts. A base and a dispenser nozzle. The base is connected to the raining system on the gantry. The dispenser nozzle is screwed to the the base and dispenses the right amount to concrete depending on the design.
When printing larger objects like walls, a 6-inch nozzle is more suitable than a 1-inch nozzle, When printing thinner surfaces like platforms or pathways, a 1-inch nozzle is more suitable. The nozzles dispensers must be designed for different applications.
Gantry and Gantry Crane
Gantry and gantry cranes are widely used in construction. A gantry has a railing system that allows the extruder to move horizontally and vertically. A gantry crane is a portable machine and can be transported to the building site for construction.
The extruder is mounted on a 3D gantry or a gantry crane. A storage unit pumps concrete from a pipe to the extruder. The extruder dispenses concrete layer by layer to print the object.
This project is being developed as an open-source project with the following licensing: