What is Architectural 3D Printing?

Overview

3D printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing, is a process in which material is joined together using computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines to create a three-dimensional object.  3D printing allows for the complex shapes and objects to be manufactured precisely and quickly without the need for additional tooling.  

Printed objects usually begin as a digital 3D model from a computer aided design (CAD) file.  The file is then processed into layers, called "Slicing", which gives rise to the layer-by-layer nature in which 3D printing is usually carried out.  This production method has also enabled the manufacturing of objects that could not be previously produced using other manufacturing methods.  


Technology

There are many types of 3D printing machinery, each capable of processing different materials using distinct methods.  Here we will examine several 3D printing technologies related to the field of 3D printed architecture and paste extrusion.  

Gantry

Most typical 3-axis CNC using a cartesian coordinate system

Gantry Pros and Cons

Swing Arm

A 3-axis CNC using a polar coordinate system

Delta

A parallel robot consisting of 3 arms capable of fast 3-axis motion

6-Axis Arm

A robotic arm with 6-axis or degrees of motion

Mobile 6-Axis

A 6-axis robot arm usually mounted on an additional wheeled axis

Boom Arm

A boom arm mounted on an mobile vehicle

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