3D printers are one of the most exciting emerging technologies in the field of design – so far we’ve showcased printers that can create everything from furniture to food and even robotic exoskeletons. Now imagine living in a house made using a 3D printer. It’s not so far away, thanks to Stone Spray – a solar-powered robotic 3D printer that can create entire buildings out of sand!
Although it is still in its early stages, the Stone Spray robot shows great potential for 3D printing ecologically-friendly structures. The robotic device blends soil sourced on-site with a binder (which is composed of LEED-Certified components), and then sprays the mixture onto a surface. The soil solidifies as the machine works, allow it to create sculptural forms.
The robot is controlled by computer and, unlike other 3D printers, has the ability to print in multiple directions on both the vertical and horizontal plane. The device runs on solar power and has been used to create furniture, load-bearing walls and support-free sculptural shapes.
The robot was developed by Inder Shergill, Anna Kulik, and Petr Novikov under the supervision of Jordi Portell, Marta Male Alemany and Miquel Iloveras of Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. The IAAC is a research and education center in Spain dedicated to the development of sustainable architecture and with this project, they hope to “push further the boundaries of digital manufacturing and explore the possibilities of an on-site fabrication machines.”