Clay Printing

Research team: O. Kontovourkis, G. Tryfonos

Research, Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus

The term Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) is used to describe the three-dimensional robotic movement and material deposition in layers, leading to solidified products. Most commonly known as 3D printing, this technology has gained considerable attention the last few decades and today has succeeded to be a rapidly growing field worldwide with several technologies available for public use. Furthermore, recent developments in the area of computational design tools and their incorporation within a productive workflow that includes digital design and fabrication, open new direction in this area of research. All the above, open the possibility of applying RAM technologies in the construction industry, particularly towards the implementation of 3D printing processes in actual scale. An area under considerable attention is RAM with clay, which allows the manufacturing of complex and non-standard 3D morphologies in lower cost and more effectively but also considering the ecological aspect of the material evolved. In addition, RAM with clay overcome material limitations, opening new directions of implementation towards more sensible, flexible and versatile products based on a layer by layer material deposition approaches. This ongoing project builds on previous work done by d2AP , emphasizing on the installation of an industrial extruder for 3D clay printing (LDM Wasp Extruder) that is mounted on a robotic arm (ABB IRB 2600) and on toolpath planning in the parametric design environment of Grasshopper (plug-in for Rhino 3D) and robotic control software HAL for RAM execution of selected case studies using clay material mixtures. The process suggests an algorithm for system’s control as well as for robotic toolpath development applied in additive manufacturing of small to medium scale morphologies. 

Kontovourkis O. and Michael P., 2017. A robotically-driven additive construction planning process using an ecological material. The introduction of 3D clay printing for large scale construction. In Proceedings of the 5th eCAADe RIS, 95-104, Cardiff, UK. 
Kontovourkis, O. and Tryfonos, G., 2018. Integrating parametric design with robotic additive manufacturing for 3D clay printing: An experimental study. Proceedings of the 35th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, Berlin, Germany [In Print]. 

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