SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – It sounds like the ultimate do-it-yourself project: the print-your-own-home.
In place of bricks and mortar and the need for a construction crew, a customisable building plan which transforms itself from computer screen graphics into a real-world abode thanks to the latest in 3D printing technology.
That dream is still beyond our reach, but several teams of architects across the globe are engaged in efforts to take a major step towards it by creating the world's first 3D-printed homes.
Amsterdam-based Dus Architects is one of the firms involved - it plans to print a canal house in the Dutch capital.
It's worth taking a moment to reflect on that premise; the machine will not modestly 3D-print the usual cup, curtain ring or piece of jewellery, but an actual building.
The printer that will make this possible - the KamerMaker - is a marvel in itself. The name translates from Dutch as "room-maker".
With a shiny metallic exterior, built from the carcass of a shipping container, it is 6m (19ft 8in) tall and would easily fill the average sitting room.
Using different types of plastics and wood fibres, the device takes computer-drawn plans and uses them to make first the building's exterior walls, then the ceilings and other parts of individual rooms and then finally its furniture.
The pieces will be assembled on site like a huge jigsaw with parts attached to each other thanks to some of their edges having being shaped like giant Lego pieces, and the use of steel cabling to "sew" the elements together.
Each part is created using a layer-by-layer process in which solid objects take shape by printing thin "slices" of the construction materials, one level at a time, which bind together.
When I interviewed the architects involved - Hedwig Heinsman and Hans Vermeulen - for the BBC World Service's Click - I was able to stand comfortably with them inside the machine.
Looking across I could see the device's huge print head was connected to a flexible tube running down from the ceiling through which it could pour the heated plasticised material that will ultimately form the house's structure.
As with its smaller counterparts, the print head moves firstly horizontally and then vertically building up salami slices of the 3D object.
The enormous contraption will be able to fabricate individual life-sized rooms in one print session.
I was shown a rosette window frame that had recently been "printed'" as a demonstration.
The young architects were visibly excited. Architecture is normally a slow and painstaking discipline. After graduation their first conventional building, from commission to execution, was six years in the making. This 3D project should be concluded in a fraction of that time.
By the end of this year the fully printed facade of the building will be erected, though it will be several more years before the project is completed.
"We are makers at heart and a 3D printer offers us a DIY kit," says Ms Heinsman.
Mr Vermeulen adds he believes his industry is "at the forefront of new industrial revolution".
Their firm has formed a collective that includes designers and computer scientists who are sharing their expertise and drawing on open-source computer tools to build this canal house.
The 3D printer stands like a work of modern sculpture on a grassy patch outside the collective's slightly raffish offices.
It's not just that it would it be too big to fit inside their offices, the team wants the public to be able to see the virtuosity of this 3D printer in action.
They also have a more regular-sized 3D printer inside their offices which is used to build doll's house-sized architectural models of the canal house on a scale of 1:20. Critically, the instructions for building these small versions are from the same computer files that the architects have designed for the actual house.
The canal house will be built over time from the bottom up.
Ms Heinsman says you might notice a change in the aesthetic of the building as your eyes travel up it.
1:20 scale models were built from the computer blueprints to help optimise the design
"The top part of the facade will be the most beautifully ornamented because by then we will have perfected our knowledge of how the printer works," she explains.
It is unlikely that the finished KamerMaker 3D-printed house will be built as cheaply as conventional canal houses which are mass-produced by developers. But the architects are treating it as an experiment which provides a proof of concept and proof of the unbound limits of 3D printing.
It may seem like science fiction or the kind of fantastical vanity project expected of a millionaire, but this is really a visionary concept of idealistic but level-headed architects operating with modest budgets, whose focus is on social housing.
Developers may not be quaking in their boots just now but 3D printing has the potential to disrupt construction and the very look of our towns and cities.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Open source commercial space company DIYROCKETS and 3D-modeling software company Sunglass have announced today that they’ve partnered in a competition for people to design 3-D printable rocket engines. The competition, which takes off today at SxSW, is for budding rocket scientists to design open source rocket engines capable to cheaply delivering small payloads into low Earth orbit.
This is the first in a series of competitions that the two companies have planned for a number of commercial space applications ranging from propulsion to medical sensors. Sunglass will be giving away $10,000 in prizes to the winning teams. Additionally, 3D printing company Shapeways will be donating $500 to 3D print the top two winning rocket engines.
“The space industry is advancing very quickly right now,” Darlene Damm, co-CEO of DIYROCKETS told me. “This is due to efforts such as the XPrize and NASA several years ago, as well as there are many new big space companies coming online like SpaceX. We were inspired to create DIYROCKETS to provide everyone a way to become involved in the space industry and explore it and, through open sourcing and crowd sourcing dramatically lower the costs of space exploration by unlocking talent from around the world as has never been possible before.”
Final designs will be due on June 1, 2013 and the winners will be announced on July 1. The judging panel hasn’t been finalized, but it includes Dean Kamen, the President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation and inventor of a number of technological products, including the Segway.
Additionally, the teams won’t only be competing for prizes – they’ll be providing a launching point for talking about ideal designs for 3D printed rocket engines. That’s because those designs will be open to the community.
“Registering for the competition involves agreeing to make your designs public and open source,” Damm said. “However, the public will not have access to the actual 3D files themselves. They will be able to view and comment on these via Sunglass, but the actual files will be sole property of the designer who uploaded it unless they choose to share it with someone else.”
“Our goal at Sunglass is to help take the next amazing idea to production faster through global collaboration,” Kaustuv DeBiswas, co-founder and CEO of Sunglass said in a statement. “By joining forces with DIYROCKETS and Shapeways for the 3D Rocket Engine Design Challenge, we will be able to see a preview of the incredible impact that 3D printing and cloud collaboration will have in advancing aerospace technology.”-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An architect in Holland 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.
Janjaap Ruijssenaars hopes to create the buildings, which he estimates will cost 4-5 million euros (£3.3- £4.2m), all around the world.
Museums, visitor centres and private individuals had already expressed interest, he said.
Mr Ruijssenaars is working with large-scale 3D printing expert Enrico Dini on the project.
According to his company's website, Mr Dini's industrial sized 3D printer uses sand and a special binding agent to create a "marble like material" stronger than cement.
But the 1,000-sq-m buildings would still require concrete reinforcements, Mr Ruijssenaars said.
"3D printing is amazing," he told the BBC.
"For me as an architect it's been a nice way to construct this specific design - it has no beginning and no end and with the 3D printer we can make it look like that.
"In traditional construction you have to make a mould of wood and you fill it with concrete and then you take out the wood - it's a waste of time and energy.
"You can print what you want - it's a more direct way of constructing."
The first "landscape house" should be in position by 2014, said Mr Ruijssenaars.
"We would like to construct one per country," he said.
"A private individual who lives by a national park in Brazil would like one to display the native American art they have found in the park.
"For a museum, the price is around the right mark."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Check out the video above that depicts a little girl known as Emma, where this 2-year old girl was born with a rare disease known as arthrogryposis, and this particular condition actually makes it impossible for her to raise her arms without any external assistance. Thanks to the clever use of 3D printing, a hospital in Delaware managed to come up with a mobile plastic exoskeleton which enables Emma to make use of her arms in different ways.
Another big advantage of 3D printing would being able to come up with a brand new exoskeleton each time Emma outgrows it. Alternatively, it can also be printed again should the printed arm break, how now about that? Emma calls her device “magic arms.” The Stratasys 3D printer was instrumental in the creation of Emma’s jacket that holds her 3D printed arms as well. Making a 3D printed prosthesis sounds a whole lot better than churning out 3D printed assault rifles, right?—www.shafaqna.com/english