BetAbram To Release House Printing Machine
Kyle Maxey posted on May 28, 2014 |
3D printing, house, concrete, moon, NASA, ESAOver the course of its nearly 30-year lifetime, additive manufacturing has been used to create a massive array of objects. Though while the technology has had a number of different applications, its ability to produce objects on a massive scale has only just begun.

In an effort to push the envelope of 3D printing’s scale, Slovenian startup BetAbram claims it will be ready to ship three scaffolding-based printer models by the end of this summer, each capable of building houses.

Starting with a 3x4-meter model, Abram’s printers grow to a medium 6x12-meter frame and an enormous 9x16-meter frame in the largest incarnation. Though each model begins with a 2-meter height limit, the designers say the printer can be configured to build much larger structures.

In order to build their structures BetAbram’s machines use what appears to be a liquid concrete material. As in all other deposition AM processes, a structure emerges as successive layers of concrete are built one atop another. Although the process for building concrete AM structures seems fairly straightforward, BetAbram has yet to detail the curing time required before successive layers can be built and whether their machines can build geometries beyond rectangles.

In addition to the materials and design questions associated with BetAbram’s machines, one has to wonder how wiring and plumbing would be added to such a structure. It seems these features will have to be added after a structure is created or left out of the building’s design altogether. Looking beyond those issues, though, the BetAbram would still be a useful tool in emergency situations where numerous semi-permanent shelters are needed.

While there are certainly limitations associated with additive machines like BetAbram’s printers they could also be useful in building lunar settlements, an idea that NASA and the ESA are already interested in pursuing.

While that off-world future is a long way off, the designers at BetAbram are doing us all a service by confronting many of the fundamental issues associated with “Additive Architecture”. Although it may be that many of these issues are impossible to solve, BetAbram is doing some important thinking and may be in the unique position of engineering solutions. What’s more, with a $16,380 price tag BetAbram’s machines push the envelope on affordability.

Image and Video Courtesy of BetAbram

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