Monolite UK and its D-Shape large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) process have had an interesting couple of years. Founded by Enrico Dini, the company means to use its unique process to build houses, but the concept hasn’t quite caught on yet. A lack of housing projects hasn’t kept the company from advancing in other areas, however.
The ESA has investigated employing the D-Shape system to manufacture buildings on the moon, and now the company has won a New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) construction competition. The competition was, “… designed to provide innovative and cost-saving solutions for completing marine construction projects and maintaining waterfront infrastructure in New York City.” Continue reading
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
If you follow additive manufacturing (AM) with any regularity you probably recognize the name Bathsheba Grossman. A recent Kickstarter campaign asked for investors to recreate one of Grossman’s sculptures on a larger scale. Once the goal was met, the design for the Rygo was sent to Enrico Dini to build in concrete using the D-Shape 3D printer.
My wife loves the Sims. She plays it for hours at a time, more often than not just on the design of a virtual house. Different types of walls, roofs and windows zip by as she searches for just the right one. It’s almost a form of computer-aided design. What if my wife could design a home on her game, then print out the shell by using additive manufacturing?
That probably isn’t the exact question that drove Enrico Dini to found Monolite UK, but it might have been something similar. We’ve covered architectural additive manufacturing before, but this process is a bit different and we’ll go a little deeper.
Don’t like your house? Print a new one with additive manufacturing! That sounds like something that might have been featured in a 1950s era featurette, but researchers at Loughborough University (among others) are working on using AM on a large scale. Thus far, three different processes have been developed: contour crafting, D-Shape and concrete printing.
Contour crafting uses a crane-mounted deposition head that extrudes a cement-based paste against a trowel one layer at a time to deliver a smooth finish. This particular technique has been worked on the longest, and can currently produce a structure-bearing cement wall with minimal material waste. Contour crafting also allows for the inclusion of necessary structural elements (wiring, plumbing, etc.) during the process.