Jun 30, 2015 | By Alec

While the construction industry has become acutely aware of what 3D printing can do for them over the past year or so, perhaps the future isn’t in 3D printed concrete after all. For an Australian engineer has reportedly developed the Hadrian 3D printer, which 3D prints bricks instead of filament. Due to its tremendous speed and ability to work 24 hours a day, this machine has the potential to make building houses cheaper and quicker than ever before.

Now it is important to note that quite little is known about the Hadrian itself. Inventor Mark Pivac is behind this very interesting concept and he has supposedly been working on this machine for nearly a decade, but he has very little to show for it so far. The animated YouTube clip above looks fantastic, to be sure, but all the proof we have of the actual machine consists of Mark’s promises and a couple of obviously photoshopped images.

Some degree of skepticism is thus required, but the concept behind this unique 3D printer definitely seems fantastic. If all reports are true, it can lay up to 1,000 bricks an hour, work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and complete a house’s exterior in just two days. Mark Pivac’s company FastBrick Robotics says that Hadrian can further achieve an accuracy of up to 0,5 mm and errect 150 homes every year.

So what exactly is it? Well, if the photos and clip are anything to go by, it’s essentially a giant crane fitted with a brick extrusion device. This gives it all the build space you need for your home, while a CAD program of a house or structure determines exactly where the bricks are going. With a special mortar extrusion head attached, it can autonomously build houses at breakneck speed.

And according to Mark Pivac – who has been trained as an aeronautic and mechanical engineer – the concept was born during a bricklaying crisis in Australia in 2005, when there was a shortage of workers. ‘eople have been laying bricks for about 6,000 years, and ever since the industrial revolution, they have tried to automate the bricklaying process,’ he says.

Named after the Roman Emperor who built a huge wall to keep the barbarians out of Britain, this machine could be the solution to increasing medical costs and scarcity of bricklayers. ‘We’re at a technological nexus where a few different technologies have got to the level where it’s now possible to do it, and that’s what we’ve done,’ he tells Australian reporters. ‘We have absolutely nothing against bricklayers. The problem is the average age of bricklayers is going up and it’s difficult to attract new young people to the trade.’

So why has it taken so long for the 3D printing community to hear about this fantastic concept? Well, that is because Fastbrick Robotics has just been taken over by investment company DMY Capital Limited, who are seeking to take it to the next level. As DMY chairman Gabriel Chiappini said in Australian media: ‘We were immediately excited by the opportunity and see an enormous potential both domestically and later globally.’ The Hadrian previously received funding from a number of Australian grants and industry parties.

So far, the response to this project has been excellent. ABN Group Managing Director Dale Alcock, who works in an advisory capacity, suggests that this could be just what the construction industry needs. ‘Housing affordability in Australia is of critical importance and is at the centre of political debate,’ Alcock says. ‘Australia’s Fastbrick Robotics is at the forefront of construction automation and its innovative robotic bricklaying technology has the potential to service the overwhelming demand for housing, quicker and cheaper than ever before.’ And with housing problems becoming increasingly worrisome not just in Australia but throughout the world, let’s just hope that the Hadrian is everything that is being promised.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printers

 

 

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Dave wrote at 7/6/2015 7:04:24 PM:

Is this 3D Printing or robotic brick laying?

Charles B wrote at 6/30/2015 8:42:14 PM:

Interesting. Looks like an idea discussed in a TED Talk back in 2011. http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski?language=en



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