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In partnership with IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) we have worked on Metabuilding Grow/Harvest project within European Union's Horizon 2022 research and innovation program.
The goal was to overcome challenges of construction industry (low efficiency, high costs, huge amounts of waste and CO2 emissions) and complexities of using recycled mortar mixes (raw materials vary in chemical composition and granularity distribution all the time, which result in inconsistencies of the printing output). To that end, sensor feedback was combined with computational design and structural simulation to optimize design and production of a construction element – slope stair.
The project explored various sensors and cameras to track the variation in extrusion width, tested various algorithms to control the robot speed, and adapted the computational design tools to integrate the material + machine behavior.
The final solution uses two depth cameras fixed to scan the output of the 3d printing nozzle, a ring of led lights to enhance contrast, and an embedded computer to combine the two streams of data, run the computer vision algorithm, process the extrusion width, read the robot position and calculate the robot speed adjustment required to guarantee the best results.
The technologies have been tested and calibrated on multiple extrusion paths with a large variety of material quality and extrusion widths. Learnings from the capacity and limits of the technologies have been integrated in the design of a building element demonstrator via computational tools.
The project concluded with the successful design and 3D printing of a highly parametric slope stair using 95% recycled mortar mix – Hyperion Geo-Mix. Slope stair demonstrates the benefits of robotic 3D printing, use of recycled materials and sensor feedback technology application in AM for the construction sector.
- Accurate deposition and consistent surface finish, which satisfy industry
- Improved usability and Q&A of printing system – automatic adjustment of print parameters to guarantee optimal and consistent deposition
- Only 30 minutes of print time, whereas a traditional casted stair would
take days, because building complex formwork would be necessary
- Optimized stair design that uses 40% less material than traditional casted stair of similar configuration
- Material emits only 15kg of CO2/ton
- Zero waste
The project concluded with the successful design and 3D printing of a highly parametric slope stair using 95% recycled mortar mix - Hyperion Geo-Mix.
Metabuilding recycled 3D staircase
IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia)