When toy-scale 3D printers began popping up at Maker Faires about a decade ago, the idea of printing an entire house seemed a long way off. But by late 2019, builders were already producing entire neighborhoods of small printed-concrete dwellings. Clearly, 3D printing can work on a grown-up scale. But can it generate large, complex, engineered components for urban architecture or manufacturing? A consortium of corporations, universities, and nonprofits is determined to prove that it can.
Industry has focused commercial-scale additive manufacturing on products with complex geometries for which traditional milling, casting, or grinding methods—especially objects needed in small numbers, on short notice—are impractical or expensive. Generally, they’ve been fairly small objects. But Foster + Partners, a global studio for architecture, urbanism, and design, has pushed the boundaries of scale for additive manufacturing by designing and planning a 5-meter-long (16.4-foot-long) additive-steel building truss, which it produced in sections.
This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/hybrid-manufacturing/.
Photo Credit: The Large-scale Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM) is a massive hybrid-manufacturing machine with metal additive and subtractive capabilities. Courtesy of LASIMM.