Imagine: an ice sculpture artist brings a 3D ice printer to the site and prints all ice sculptures out of 3D printer. This is no longer a dream, thanks to the breakthrough technology.
In 2006 Professors Pieter Sijpkes and Jorge Angeles at McGill University based in Montreal, Quebec have received a $173,000 Research Creation Grant for a project called "The New Architecture of Phase Change: Computer Assisted Ice Construction.” This three-year study is to develop computer-assisted ice construction techniques, for example using digital fabrication to construct buildings out of ice.
Water can be printed at about minus 8(Fahrenheit) - The two professors have discovered and figured out a way to print small-scale 3D ice models using what they call the Cobra 600 robot.
The input file format for the robot to print objects is STL or PLY, which can be generated from almost all CAD program. Ice parts are built by depositing water and shortening methyl ester (SME) scaffolding through nozzles, which are positioned by the Cobra 600. The model is printed layer by layer, and two ice layers are built for every shortening methyl ester (SME) layer. The methyl ester acts as scaffolding - it softens at a lower temp than ice, so it can be removed manually and saved for re-use. The model is placed in kerosene for several hours to remove the SME remnants.
(above): This ice statue is 30cm high with 862 layers thick. It took the team 132 hours to build.
The object is formed inside a minus-8-degree(Fahrenheit) chamber, but a heating coil keeps the tip of the arm at about 68 degrees(Fahrenheit) so liquid flow isn’t interrupted during application.
After every five layers have been deposited, a laser-displacement system measures the geometry of the top layer and adjusts the valve-control data to correct for any errors.
The team has printed a beer mug, a statue, an egg carton, a martini glass etc..
In the future, the scientists is going to improve the accuracy, robustness and speed of the Cobra 600 RFP system. The current time it takes to build models for small and medium scale objects ranges between five and twenty hours. The team's ultimate goal would be to increase the size of models to architectural scale by building a much larger robot.
Posted in 3D Printers
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Don Berry wrote at 7/16/2012 5:14:02 AM:
Also, how big do you make these? I want to do projects 24" long x 12" wide/thick. Can they be adapted to do both large and very small objects? And do they only make objects that are predetermined in the available software? Or is this something the average person can create with??
Don Berry wrote at 7/16/2012 5:08:57 AM:
These machines really interest me as to inquire it's cost, easy of use, difficulty in programing and lastly, what are we limited to in building material? Can it use waxes? Please contact me as I am considering buying a 3D printer or printers soon. Roi.Adventure@gmail.com Thank you,