Category Archives: 3D Printing

3D print structures on the moon

moon base

Foster + Partners works with European Space Agency to 3D print structures on the moon | News | Foster + Partners.

Foster + Partners is part of a consortium set up by the ESA to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. Addressing the challenges of transporting materials to the moon, the study is investigating the use of lunar soil,known as regolith, as building matter.The practice has designed a lunar base to house four people, which can offer protection from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be transported by space rocket.

An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer to create a protective shell. To ensure strength while keeping the amount of binding “ink” to a minimum, the shell is made up of a hollow closed cellular structure similar to foam. The geometry of the structure was designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with consortium partners – it is groundbreaking in demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to create structures that are close to natural biological systems.

3D printing techniques will be used to construct buildings, here and in outer space.

The objective of NASA is to build settlements, outposts, it could be much cheaper than prefab structures and much, much cheaper than conventional construction.


Future of Construction: 3D Concrete Printing

3D Concrete Printing developed at Loughborough University is capable of producing large scale additive manufacturing, has the potential for producing full scale building components.

A demonstration of 3D construction using Contour Crafting where a robotic arm excretes clay or concrete and a metal guide is used to form walls that include a corrugated internal structure for strength. Because the walls are hollow, they have excellent insulating properties. Using Contour Crafting the shell of a 2,000 sq. ft. house, including floors, ceiling and roof, can be built in less than 20 hours custom designed on site.

Robotic extruding method

Robotic extruding method