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Zachary Schoch

While that wave of the future just keeps cresting and breaking into a flood of innovations and changes for the world, most are greatly enjoying the very interesting ride–and improving the quality of their lives and others with technology like 3D printing.

From changing tides in the ecosystem of the workplace, washing away tradition as we know it, to a hint on the horizon about changes that might be coming to construction and building of homes, it’s all about clean lines, leaving as little footprint as possible, and having greater affordability and convenience.

Shaking up traditional ideas regarding status, today being hip is more about being minimalist and carrying as little baggage as possible. The idea is to have those few items you treasure be of high quality, operating at maximum efficiency.

This is true especially when you are camping, moving, or having an event and considering basic architectures. While camping or moving somewhere temporarily allows us to pack a small, well-thought-out amount of items, often we are roughing it–and sometimes that’s the case permanently for a number of folks who just can’t afford much real estate at all.

S-WALL-SNAPY2-S1With 3D printing, the world of architecture is riding that tide of change on many levels. We’ve seen prototypes of affordable but dreamy looking 3D printed communities in exotic locales, along with concepts for bringing comfortable and secure 3D printed housing to those in developing countries who currently have very little.

While the modular home idea is popular, along with the trend of making incredible pieces of architecture from shipping containers, now comes the 3D printed snap-together architecture, created by Zachary Schoch (with support from Eugene Lee). It looks good, it’s affordable, and it’s portable.

The designers just exhibited their prototype at 3D Printer World 2015 in Burbank, California, and were able to fit the entire piece of 3D printed architecture into their car, and had the whole structure unpacked, unloaded, and put together in just 10 minutes. Not only is that amazing in itself, but the 10-foot-high structure was also 3D printed in only 18 hours. Disregarding packing and unpacking, it should be easily assembled in just a matter of a few minutes on its own.

In creating the pieces, Schoch and Lee employed a Euclid Robot 3D printer, using ABS for their material of choice. The prototype shows off their s-wall building system, which is full-scale, and due to the ABS materials is very strong and durable. The team states that because of the high-performance components, they are easily assembled by hand and larger elements if it were to be expanded should only require “minimal equipment.”

Credit: Nicole Caldwell

Rendering by Eugene Lee

There is a tension element on the outside of the structure which features a hook and matching receptable, with a compression element on the inside. The structure should also be safe from the elements like rain as the placement of the outer seam is below the compression element, or inner seam. Due to the snap connection, water should not be able to get in, but users could also employ a sealing gasket to ensure a watertight building.

Affordability is a big factor and benefit as it costs little to produce the parts and costs very little to transport them. The pieces are also simple to put together because they are all the same whether for the floor, roof, or a wall. Mechanical systems can be built in, as well as piping for liquids. Ventilation ducts can be built in and 3D printed simultaneously also, in any of the pieces.

Is this a structure that you might be interested in using, or even attempting to 3D print? Discuss in the Snap-Together 3D Printed Building forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

assembling

Assembling the structure

tension element - outer seam

Tension element – outer seam

 

Detail view of s-wall connection

Detail view of s-wall connection

[Source: bot laboratory; all photos credit Nicole Caldwell]
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