In 2013, we saw the rise of the 3D printed robot. Now students are looking to complete the cycle by making a 3D printed robot that can double as a 3D printer.
A group of students in San Francisco have created a new robot that they call Geoweaver. It’s a hexapod robot that rolls around on wheels and is equipped with a glue gun extruder. When fed instructions, it can roll around on a large surface and print structures that would not be possible on a regular 3D printer.
So, why is this significant? One of the greatest challenges facing 3D printers today is that 3D printed objects can only be as big as the bed. It’s not been that bad for those who only want to print small objects, but what about the future of 3D printing? All of the concepts available today for 3D printed housing show a large 3D printer overtop a large bed as it applies concrete layer by layer onto the bedrock. While such a method is certainly plausible for smaller houses, what about larger and oddly shaped structures? That’s where things like the Geoweaver comes in.
By attaching the extruder to a robot, 3D printers could one day be capable of creating larger, more complex objects. Not only will 3D printers be able to build up, but they would be able to build out as well. Of course, such a dream is still a ways off when you consider the resources necessary to build an autonomous 3D printer that can accommodate large objects, like mansions. Not to mention, most 3D printer materials still require a heated bed and heating a large area would be prohibitively expensive.
Regardless of all that, however, the Geoweaver is a solid concept that can only improve as more work is done on it. In fact, the team is already envisioning a larger Geoweaver that can take information from GPS satellites to pinpoint print locations across large landscapes on the ground.
To see more, check out the video below:
If that all looks good to you, you can build your very own Geoweaver today. The Instructables page will tell you everything you need to know about building your own 3D printing robot.
Image via Creative Architecture Machines @ CCA San Francisco/YouTube