An architect in Netherlands is thinking a little bigger about 3-D printing than the tiny-to-midsize trinkets. Janjaap Ruijssenaars has revealed plans to 3D print buildings inspired by the Earth’s landscape. The buildings are designed to resemble a giant mobius strip – a continuous loop with only one side.
According to BBC, he hopes to create the buildings, which he estimates will cost 4-5 million euros (£3.3- £4.2m), all around the world. According to his company’s website, the industrial sized 3D printer uses sand and a special binding agent to create a “marble like material” stronger than cement.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. Three-dimensional (3-D) printers have come a long way from their 1980s origins as machines for building prototypes for industrial engineers and architects. Today, thanks to advances in technology and high-performance materials, they are being hailed as enablers of a “new industrial revolution.”
The first commercial 3D printer was based on a technique called stereolithography. This was invented by Charles Hull in 1984.
A wide range of commercial 3D printers for industrial application are now available from companies including 3D Systems, which works with most technologies and is rapidly acquiring many smaller manufacturers.
Prices for most commercial/industrial 3D printers tend to start in the ten-to-twenty thousand dollar bracket and spiral upwards. Although some desktop models are on the market, most commercial 3D printers are usually fairly bulky and often floor-standing.