Besides the 3D printing of human organs and living tissue, the most popular stories we have covered within the 3D printing space have all revolved around the 3D printing of structures such as houses, castles, and even swimming pools. Just like anything in society, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, and bigger usually is better.
There are numerous projects underway currently to develop the technology necessary for the construction of large-scale objects via an additive manufacturing platform, but none of them seem as promising as the project currently being worked on by a London-based company called Chorogenesis.
The company, which claims to have been working diligently over the last three years planning what will easily be the most extensive 3D printing project ever to take place to date, has just launched out of ‘stealth mode’. Their plan, which centers around a technology they call a 6D Digital Fabrication Platform is set to begin construction as early as March of 2015, and be completed sometime in 2016. Once the initial building is constructed with their proprietary 3D printing and fabrication method, they will construct five more projects which will be chosen from a recent design competition they held earlier in the year. These 3D printed buildings will make up what they call the ‘Nautilus Genesis Resort’.
The construction process is quite sophisticated, and it relies on multiple materials being extruded simultaneously, allowing for walls of the structure to be printed with varying properties via a composite material.
The initial building itself will be shaped similarly to a snail’s shell and have many of its components built-in during the print process.
“The head will extrude multiple different materials, for instance with different consistencies, or energy-storing properties,” explained Vassiliadis to Construction-Manager. “All the elements such as pipes for plumbing, electrical cables and ducts can be embedded in the structure. For this we have developed special software which designs then makes the whole structure. It reduces the cost – you have less labor and you don’t have mistakes.”
Additionally, all of the heating and cooling mechanisms will be embedded into the building which will have an extremely low carbon footprint, utilizing materials which are both common to construction, as well as foreign, such as bioplastics and geopolymers.
The 6D Digital Fabrication process, which has remained relatively secretive thus far, relies on three main procedural steps which are listed on the company’s website. They are; design, engineering and genesis. The design process relies on computational freeforms and ideas from nature to create structurally sound buildings. Their team of engineers then rely on sophisticated analysis to embed a variety of sensors and energy elements within the structure, ensuring that it meets all local construction codes. The actual genesis of the structure then relies on their printhead and a robotic arm attached to a gantry which extrudes the appropriate material mixture, creating a composite material in just the right areas.
The project will cost approximately $5 million, of which they are currently in the process of raising. They have yet to officially announce the site of the first 3D printed structure. However, it will be located either in Dubai, somewhere in Greece, or an undisclosed location that the company is still considering. As to why Vassiliadis has decided to get into this line of work, he explains below:
“I was interested in the field and had collaborated with the partners in other projects. We’d also been involved in 3D printing and manufacturing for over a decade – we also have a project to print boats.”
Once they have proven their concept, Vassiliadis will seek to sell their services to other larger construction companies. It will be interesting to follow along over the next year or two to see just how far Chorogenesis can take this technology. Let us hear your thoughts on this possible groundbreaking project in the Chorogenesis forum thread on 3DPB.com.