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A robot to build a straw house
  • Hello,

    I want to share an idea with you that I have for a while.

    Basically the idea is to build a 3D Printer to print a straw house.

    The main concept is that there is a robot who is able to weave the straw in order to generate the 3D model designed with a 3D software. Thus, the house is composed of only one big bundle of straw (with a shape of house).

    If you are enough mad to think about this idea with me, do not hesitate to answer to this thread,

    The best,

  • 14 Comments sorted by
  • weaving sounds kinda hard. or at least something 3d robot people arnt used to?

    whats it called when you make a house out of mud and straw? i wonder if you could print like that?

    put the printer on wheels and you could load it with straw and mud or whatever, build one, move over 10 feet and do another. you could have a whole village in a day? lol
  • I have often thought of a sort of 3D printer that could print a whole wall. Or even just some of these complicated building bricks. You know, the interlocking ones. Build a large printer that uses recycled plastic to print a brick. Same sort of idea.

    The Dawg
  • i wonder if the industrial robot arm they're planning on making could have a brick handling hand attachment that could take CEB bricks from a pallet and stack up a house?
  • The combination of mud and straw is called adobe in the southwest.  In Britain, it's called Cob.  Google either term and you'll come up with a lot of references.  There are also some nice books on building with Cob.  I've even seen one or two houses built with it.

    - Mark
  • Cob would be a great way of making a house printer media - Its such a uniform material that merely given a way of placing globs (or extruding, etc) the material at a set location would allow it.

    I think the homebuilders would be annoyed though - if its as easy as parking a gantry-robot over the homesite and puking in a design and a bunch of mud and straw, how will they be able to justify charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house?

    Where this idea might be particular useful is in the matter of large structures - the creation of very large aggregations of compressed earth blocks (or even cob), for instance, things where the actual capital cost of the human labor involved is particularly significant - building something the size of and scale (if not height) of a skyscraper (like an arcology, perhaps?).  The logistics in creating such a massive structure based on human labor rather than robotic is far more significant than that of small houses.

    I visualize a x-y style simple gantry robot that builds the entire thing up layer by layer, raising itself up a little at a time as it brings the level upwards...
  • @DavidIAm -

    "I think the homebuilders would be annoyed though - if its as easy as
    parking a gantry-robot over the homesite and puking in a design and a
    bunch of mud and straw, how will they be able to justify charging
    hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house?"

    Yes but that is exactly what we are trying to do here David.  Why pay all that money when you don't need to.  I also feel that this idea could one day be significant.

    The Dawg
  • Check out 'contour crafting'. Maybe an open source earthen printer could be spawned from the concept.

    Contour crafting
    Prototype video
  • @Dawg Yes.  This idea will have uses.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that 'this isn't a killer application for homes'.  This is a great application for larger capital projects.  Homes are just so small and personal and, frankly, trivial to build, that the difference between doing it by machine and doing it by community is fairly inconsequential.

    As for the institutionalized homebuilders, the stranglehold they have on the implementation and enforcement of their codified arbitrary building standards allows them to pressure their politicians to invade and bulldoze any structure not approved through their channels, which are, naturally, streamlined for their expensive way of building things with manufactured components.  I'm all for destroying that entire institution - perhaps the way to do it IS make a house printer and build a bunch of houses.  :)
  • What about a CEB 3D Printer?
  • Some people are building houses using a process called poured earth. It consists of soil mixed with cement. This material could work well with a CNC building printer. There's a British company claiming to have made a carbon negative magnesium cement that contains a special secret ingredient. Could biochar be added to magnesium cement to make it carbon negative?

    On the wiki cement page, it is claimed that magnesium oxide will be a by product of aluminum extraction from clay. How is this so?

    Poured Cement
    Poured cement video
    Carbon negative cement

  • Where is the lime? All you need is lime. With lime you can plaster your walls your floor. You could even make a roman bath ;) I am not sure what those tunnels under MO were made of, but if it was should be abundant there. Lime is also used if your garden is too acidic. And if you have too much aluminum in your soil, it can make it that way....didn't Monsanto just patent an aluminum resistant seed...weird...

    anyways I think one of these house building machines would be awesome, especially if people could build it themselves. whether it mixes cob, or pours is a great idea

  • Here is a 3D Printer that builds walls out of concrete:


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