Deakin University craft world's first 3D printed pavlova

Deakin University researchers have modelled and crafted the world's first 3D printed pavlova using a custom printer built for less than $500 — just in time for Christmas. The click-and-print pav is more than just an engineering feat; it is an example of how 3D printing technology has advanced enough to …

What's Hot Today!

Platonics Ark: World's First 3D Printer Designed For Architects

The instruments for presenting the concepts of architects have been revolutionized through the development of Platonics Ark. It is the world’s first 3D printer designed specifically to meet the needs of architects.

The developer, Platonics, is based in Helsinki, Finland. The company has been creating the first 3D printer for architects for almost two years. Its goal is to make 3D printing efficient, easy, and fast for architects, and now, the company has come up with the first 3D printer that would transform architects’ ideas into reality.

The Ark could print drawings made directly from the Archicad, Revit, Sketchup, Rhino, and Vectorworks. It can print fast and easy in 3D in just a matter of minutes with its time-saving software. The printer requires minimal maintenance, self-calibrates, self-configures, and automatically cleans itself. Its software could also convert the CAD files into 3D printable STL files and fix any errors. Its web application is compatible with all OS and it is an open filament system, according to Platonics’ website.

Platonics Ark printer is best for printing a model for a certain drawing such as a house or any edifice or its part. This could properly present the architect’s design to clients, in which they could better understand the concept of the architect for the proposed project. It will definitely help the architects as well as the clients to determine the best ideas for the project resulting in a successful development.

Platonics explains that a model in three dimensions says more than a thousand renderings and drawings; traditional modeling often takes a lot of effort and time and it is mostly done only once or twice during a project. Platonics added that with 3D printing, you can use scale models at each stage of your design process efficiently.

“2D drawings and 3D renderings transform an idea into a project, but scale models turn a project into a reality in the mind of the beholder,” said Platonics.

According to 3Ders, the printer could use various materials in printing the models. These include wood, matte, transparent, clay, terracotta, copper, concrete, granite, and bronze materials.

Currently, Platonics has launched an Indiegogo campaign for the crowdfunding of the printer. As of now, the printer is only available in Europe through Indiegogo. The pricing for first backers starts from €2,095 or about $2,472. The deliveries for early backers are slated in April 2018.

[Featured Image by RachelHughes2202/Thinkstock]

What's Hot Today!

Will the world's next megacity drip out of a 3D printer?

Imagine a world where huge cities could be created with the click of a button.

It might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but that’s where 3D-printing technology is headed, according to one Dubai-based start-up.

Cazza has designed a 3D-printing crane dubbed the “Minitank”, which the company says can layer up to 2,153 square feet (200 sqm) of concrete per day — making it more than 50% faster than conventional construction methods.

Automating the construction process, according to Cazza, would not only allow developers to build housing in step with rapid population growth, but is also better for the environment.

Teenage dream

The mastermind behind the Minitank is a teenager.

Chris Kelsey, CEO and co-founder of Cazza construction automation company, is just 19 years old, and last year used the money he made by selling his previous start-up, Appsitude, to fund his current project.

As well as hiring a team of engineers experienced in the 3D printing field, Cazza also enlisted structural engineers to assess existing 3D printers in the construction world and identify where those designs could be improved.

The company used this knowledge to design a series of on-site mobile 3D-printers, and began testing prototypes that have informed the final design of the Minitank, which is currently under construction itself.

Kelsey says the biggest barrier to the adoption of this technology will be public misconception.

“People don’t realize how much the 3D-printing world has changed,” Kelsey tells CNN. “They think that 3D printing is just (about using) plastic. People assume it won’t be structurally sound. That’s not what we do.”

Over the past 15 years, 3D printing has evolved from a novelty technology for printing small toys to a sophisticated process that has transformed mega-industries from fashion to fine art.

Construction, he says, is a natural progression.

Jack Cheng, an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, believes the technology has tremendous potential.

“I think it’s real, practical technologically. It’s possible to print an entire city but, of course, it will depend on the speed. Concrete is not something — like plastic — that’s hard immediately when it prints. Concrete takes time to solidify,” he says.

Cheng adds that in the United States the military has been exploring the idea of 3D printing cities after disasters, when there is a need to urgently rehouse people.

Designing Dubai

In 2016, the Dubai government announced its 3D Printing Strategy, which aims to see 25% of buildings in the city constructed using 3D printing technology by 2030.

Last year, Cazza was invited by the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to present their technology to those overseeing the initiative, the government confirms.

Once based in the US, Cazza subsequently moved its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates state, which is already home to the world’s first functional 3D printed office building, constructed by a robotic arm in 17 days.

Kelsey says Cazza has several projects in the pipeline in Dubai, but will not provide details.

“It wouldn’t be skyscrapers right off the bat, but they really want to use our technologies for every aspect of construction,” he says.

“Unless there’s a random, unique material (required) … any structure you look at that was conventionally constructed, you can print with our machines.”

Just press play

The concept of 3D printing a building was first explored seriously by Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis, director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies at the University of Southern California.

In 2009, Khoshnevis invented a computer-programmed, concrete-extruding 3D printer, capable of printing a 2,500-square-foot structure in 20 hours.

His invention paved the way for other construction companies, such as Cazza, to experiment with 3D printing.

The premise is surprisingly straight forward, requiring just a few components: the computer software, building material, and, of course, the printer.

For Cazza’s process, the architect uploads their blueprint onto the computer system, which sends it to the crane printer. The latter then elegantly spins out layers of concrete in the shape of the design.

“You can’t see the layering of the material in our designs,” says Kelsey. “The framework of the house is the same quality, if not higher, than the typical concrete home.”

Competition in the market

Cazza is not the first company to take inspiration from Khoshnevis, who is currently working with Nasa to explore the feasibility of printing houses on Mars.

Chinese construction firm WinSun, for example, in 2014, 3D printed 10 one-story houses in a single day in Shanghai, while last year DUS architects finished printing a 13-room canal house in Amsterdam.

The innovation behind Cazza’s technology is that the Minitank — should the company succeed in making it operational — will be able to print on-site. WinSun 3D printed the various parts of each Shanghai house off-site and assembled them on location, while DUS printed on-site but the project took three years.

Cheng says seamless printing on-site is a better method of construction.

“Usually, each piece of the prefabricated components look fine, but when you combine them, the workmanship isn’t that good and the connections are not stable. So the safety of some pre-fabricated buildings is a concern.”

Location, location, location

Printing on location is not only a faster way of working, but it cuts transportation costs and produces less waste.

“The barrier to companies (printing on-site) so far has been that it’s extremely difficult to develop a machine with all of the factors needed,” says Kelsey.

“There are many videos online of companies 3D printing concrete structures with their machines, but people don’t realize that these machines are not scalable for actual use in construction.”

The Minitank’s crane-like neck can construct buildings up to three storeys high, and the team has a new machine in the works which they say could 3D-print skyscrapers.

Currently, their primary building material is a cement made from 80% recycled materials, but Kelsey says at least three other types of materials are in development.

Australian Open 2017: Kyrgios called out for ‘bizarre’ performance
Samantha Bee: ‘I feel like it is kind of a special moment’

What's Hot Today!

'Virtually Real,' the world's first 3D-printed VR art exhibition in London

Tilt Brush example. — Pictures courtesy of HTC ViveTilt Brush example. — Pictures courtesy of HTC ViveLONDON, Dec 27 — From January 11 to 14, 2017, the Royal Academy of Art in London will present the first ever 3D-printed artworks in virtual reality, produced in collaboration with HTC Vive.

Artists from the Royal Academy and its alumni will create artwork using the virtual reality platform HTC Vive, creations that visitors to the exhibition will be able to experience in real time, “fully immersing themselves in the virtual piece.”

Art and virtual reality

The exhibition is the first of its kind, with artists using a combination of artistic software programmes such as the Tilt Brush and Kodon modeling tool, which allow the user to paint in a 3D space. SuperHuge 3D printing is then used to produce the creations in real life. The three selected artists, Adham Faramawy, Elliot Dodd and Jessy Jetpacks are all specialised in work using virtual reality, apps and multimedia.

Visitors will be able to paint in a 3D space using the same technology as the artists. Visitors will be able to paint in a 3D space using the same technology as the artists. Visitors will not only be able to walk around, under and through the exhibition, but will also be able to watch a playback of the making of each artwork, and are then invited to try their hand at creating a piece themselves using the same technology as the artists.

The Head of Fine Art Process at the Academy, Mark Hampson, explained that this exhibition was part of a long-term mission to ”become pioneers in the production of 3D sculptural forms created from virtually generated imagery,” showcasing the future of art and the possibilities of virtual reality in the creative industry.

HTC Vive product shot. HTC Vive product shot. Vive VR

Produced by HTC and Valve, Vive allows room-scale virtual reality thanks to its adjustable headset, two wireless controllers with HD haptic feedback and 360° absolute motion tracking. The front-facing camera blends the physical with the virtual.

The “Virtually Real” exhibition is taking place in the Fine Rooms at the Royal Academy of Art in London January 11-14, 2017. — AFP-Relaxnews

What's Hot Today!