Massimo Moretti had a dream: building houses using a 3D printer and saving the world. 20 years ago he set up CSP, an innovative project development center focusing on research of new and innovative ideas. The RepRap project opens his mind. During his research he got the inspiration from nature: wasp builds it's nest by only depositing and consolidating the mud.
Together with a group of ISIA (design university) students, the team started WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project). The first 3D printer WASP developed is POWERWASP, a unique open source 3D printer that can extrude not only plastics but also clay by switching the head, and it is also a milling machine! They call it "a personal fab".
So far 3D printing plastics has been proven to be extremely accurate (0.05 mm layer precision) and fast (200mm/s). See the image below, a little frog is printed with layer thickness 0.05mm. Impressive!
The POWERWASP is already for sale with both plastic extruder and mill and the price starts at €760 ($994 / £616), not including VAT.
Here are the specifications of the Powerwasp:
- Build envelope: 260 x 200 x 210 mm
- Lead time: 4 weeks Italy / 6 weeks elsewhere
- Nozzle diameters: 0.35 mm
- Layer thickness: 0.05 mm
- Speed: 200 mm/s
- Positioning precision: for x and y axis: 0.012 mm, for z axis: 0.4 µm
- Input format: STL (printing), DXF (milling)
- Software: open source (cura, slic3r, printrun excetera)
- System compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Mac OSX, Linux, Ubuntu
- Weight: 6 kg
Check out the 3D print samples from the POWERWASP.
The team is currently working on the clay extruder which is still a beta version. The photos below shows their very first results in laboratory, using ceramic materials. With the help of Mirco Denicolò (professor of ceramic technology at ISIA Faenza) they have found the right clay mixture.
The nozzle of the extruder used in this print is 5mm. They expect the clay extruder to be in full operation in March 2013. If anyone is interested in getting involved and helping out with the development you are welcome to contact the team.
Another big step the WASP project takes is developing Delta Robot, based on the Rostock (delta robot 3D printer). The team plans to raise (or gain) funds for building and developing a huge version of Delta Robot for printing houses. The one on display is still a beta version. (movement works, next step is to add an extruder on it and adjust the settings.)
Watch the video below the Delta Robot in the development:
An introduction video of Powerwasp:
Powerwasp presented at Robotica & Makers in Italy:
When Massimo joined a bio-architecture event and learned that many "houses" in developing countries are just a mix of tin foil and wood, he decided to develop low-cost 3D printers capable of building houses using clay. POWERWASP can not only be used for developing projects, prototypes, or small productions but it also brings him one step closer to achieving his dream.
Finally, more 3D print samples from POWERWASP.
(All images courtesy of WASP)
Posted in 3D Printers
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