In the last decade 3D printing has move from fad to platitude to anachronism. The advent of digital fabrication and in particular of discrete printed construction bring with it the promise of high flexibility, minimum waste and low barriers of entry. However, as we move into a prosumer driven manufacture environment we must tackle the inherent limits of our current construction techniques.
This project looks to address the issue of lamination. Lamination is the deposit of low quantities of oxygen in between printed layers as a result of fabrication in an aerobic environment. It is one of the main hurdles of large scale 3D printing of buildings.
I try to approach this solution by deviating from the mental model of a printer and looking into the way that nano crystals are constructed. Crystal grow form seeds in a process called nucleation. In it, a base seed dictates the growth of every adjacent piece. This is a useful analogy, since crystals, as printers also build using layers, however crystals don’t grow through aggregation but through self-assembly into a crystal lattice.
Borrowing this behavior, a system was constructed based on the Monoclinic crystal mP oblique rhombic prism unit cell. A lattice that is predictable and scalable but not too rigid as to hinder application.
This, while valuable as starting point does not answer the original premise. Since not all materials can be used as substrate for crystal growth and, the materials that can, are not necessarily load bearing. Crystals needed to consider not as construction materials but as constructive restrictors, as a way to control the way the system is built.
A visitation of traditional construction aids yields an answer in formwork. The way we currently use formwork is not an elegant way to build. It has high overhead costs, it’s time consuming, limited and prescriptive. On the other side, it is reusable, predictable and scalable.
This is important, because one of the main precepts of the decentralized manufacturing model is the decrease of waste material. Elements must be either left as part of the structure or reused downstream.
A new approach was proposed. By modelling the units as a self-assemble apparatus; this way a formwork can be created for the pouring of material. This configuration allows for easy, low control initial assembly and later reuse.
Using a bespoke generative algorithm an array of solution was generated based on the bi-truncated honeycomb described by the nano crystallite structure. The resulting array permits a very efficient packing when disassembled and ample space for pouring when assembled.
The fabrication process is built on the logic of nucleation. It’s a three step process. First the containing apparatus self assembles. This can be directed by external control, or by programing the units. Later the material is poured and allowed to settle. Lastly the pieces are disassembled and retrieved through escape ducts formed by their own configuration.
This can be accomplished by capitalizing on the unidirectional strength of the structure. Since this system is very stable in the orthogonal and unstable when oblique pressures are applied