Created by Petr Novikov, Inder Shergill and Anna Kulik, Stone Spray is a construction method which uses soil as the base material and a liquid binder to solidify the soil granules. The device uses an Arduino UNO, Processing application and a custom built jet spray system to deposit the mix of soil and binder, for constructing architectural shapes.
The process is as interesting as the final result (see embedded document below). Whereas normally 3d printing involves somewhat similar material laying as the structure grows, StoneSpray varies the method as the object being made gets bigger. For example for objects up to 30mm the tool paths are done in a straight line. From 30mm-60mm this is done in a spiral and finally anything over 60mm uses a triangular spiral path.
The prototype weighs around 10kg and includes a 5-axis robotic arm, elbow transmission, counterweight, shoulder motor and rotating base. The motors are controlled with one Arduino UNO board and three Easydriver shields. The software that controls the arm was developed with Processing. It visualizes the actual position of the arm and the path that should be followed. The program uses manual control mode when arm is positioned by operator. Likewise there is the automatic mode that actuates the motors according to the G-Code text file – created by optimisation script. Each print takes around 3-4 hours.
The team sees similar technology being developed as a networked system of printers that are able to fill spaces. Like in the image at the top, bridges could be built by robots on either side, working together simultaneously.
See also ‘Solar Sinter’ by Markus Kayser