WHO/WHAT/WHERE is D_SHAPE?
What is D-Shape?
d_shape is a new robotic building system using new materials to create superior stone-like structures.
This new machinery enables full-size sandstone buildings to be made without human intervention, using a stereolithography 3-D printing process that requires only sand and our special inorganic binder to operate. d_shape is a new building technology which will revolutionize the way architectural design is planned, and building constructions are executed. By simply pressing the “enter” key on the keypad we intend to give the architect the possibility to make buildings directly, without intermediaries who can add interpretation and realization mistakes.
Today’s Construction technology lags behind the available Computer Design Technology. The new 3D CAD software allow architects to conceive and design constructions easily, but existing building methods do not allow the full potential of the new design software to be achieved.
Despite the availability of construction machinery such as cranes, pumps, concrete mixers, moulds and form works, the building industry is currently reliant on the manual interventions of professional builders who are the hands which operate the machinery.
Existing materials such as reinforced concrete and masonry is expensive and inflexible. To build a complex concave-convex surface, for example, would require the pre-fabrication of expensive formworks and cages, the mounting of complicate scaffolding and then the manual casting. Furthermore, existing techniques require skilled personnel to continually refer to plans/blue-prints. This is very expensive.
The Industry needs to resolve this problem and we believe that d_shape is the innovative solution. d_shape enable architects to directly make the buildings they design, using a robotic building machine that uses CAD-CAE-CAM Design Technology.
This technology allows a level of precision and freedom of design unheard of in the past. The human limitations of master builders and bricklayers will no longer hamper architects’ visions. d_shape competes with the traditional construction industry which uses cement, reinforced concrete, bricks and stones.
d_shape has been designed to make the Construction Industry more environmentally friendly as well as providing low-cost access to building for people in need around the world. The system uses environmentally friendly materials and very low levels of energy.
This picture shows how “Radiolaria” appeared just after breaking the self-built shell at the end of the two week building process and after one week finishing by hand. It is a two meter tall monolithic sandstone structure printed using approximately 200 -10 mm thick layers of sandstone rejects, aggregated by a new revolutionary inorganic binder.
It is the first ever example of classic stereolithography being applied to the building industry and it is a huge innovation of both product and process.
This Gazebo was designed by London architect Andrea Morgante based on a small micro-organism called ‘Radiolaria’ and was printed (scaled 1:4 in respect of final dimension) with a 3D Printer developed by the Italian Engineer Enrico Dini.
The d_shape building process is similar to the “printing” process because the system operates by straining a binder on a sand layer (more on materials in the next section). This is similar to what an ink-jet printer does on a sheet of paper. This principle allows the architect to design fantastically complex architectural structures.
Seen from the outside, d_shape appears like a big aluminium structure inside of which the building will be constructed. CAD-CAM software drives the machinery during the building process. This structure holds the printer head, which of course is the real core of the new technology. Despite its large size, the structure is a very light and it can be easily transported, assembled and dismantled in a few hours by two workmen.
The process begins with the architect designing his project using CAD 3D Computer technology. The Computer design obtained is downloaded into a STL file and is imported into the Computer program that controls d_shape’s printer head. The process takes place in a non-stop work session, starting from the foundation level and ending on the top of the roof, including stairs, external and internal partition walls, concave and convex surfaces, bas-reliefs, columns, statues, wiring, cabling and piping cavities. During the printing of each section a ‘structural ink’ is deposited by the printer’s nozzles on the sand. The solidification process takes 24 hours to complete. The printing starts from the bottom of the construction and rises up in sections of 5-10mm. Upon contact the solidification process starts and a new layer is added.
Surplus sand that has not been embedded within the structure acts as a buttressing support while the solidification process takes place. This surplus sand then can be reused on future buildings.
The new material
The new material has been submitted to traction, compression and bending tests. The results have been extraordinary! The artificial sandstone created has excellent resistance properties.
Effectively, the new process returns any type of sand, dust or gravel back to its original Compact Stone state. The Stone is very similar to Marble.
The binder transforms any kind of sand into a marble-like material (i.e. a mineral with microcrystalline characteristics) and with a resistance and traction much superior to Portland Cement, so much so that there is no need to use iron to reinforce the structure. This artificial marble is indistinguishable from real marble and chemically it is one hundred percent environmentally friendly.
Advantages of d_shape technology Vs traditional methods
d_shape offers absolute advantages in terms of:
Quality: d_shape allows more advanced design and construction. The actual building will correspond to the CAD design to within planned tolerances of 5-10 millimeters. The type and complexity of the architectural styles (be it rationalist, neo-classical, organic, etc.) will not impact on building cost. In fact, as the system does not require moulds for concrete casting, any feature conceived by the designer can be easily printed.
Quantity/Time: The system is estimated to be four times faster than traditional building methods. Furthermore, the required operating time is known in advance allowing accurate planning for the machinery and for resources. The annual production capacity of the first (smaller) model of d_shape will be of 2500 m², which is equivalent to twelve two floor buildings.
Costs: despite the higher cost of the binder compared to Portland cement, the realization costs of d_shape structures are 30%-50% lower than manual methods.
Safety: no human intervention means substantially reduced risk of accidents. The building industry is affected by a higher incidence of injures and mortal accidents than many other industries. Severe and expensive safety measures must be constantly applied on the yard during building construction. d_shape would lower the costs in terms of both human lives and financially.
d_shape can print any feature that can be enveloped into a cube 6×6 meters side. The applications by Monolite are endless.
Bus stops; park benches/seats; kiosks; coloured marble effect pavements; fountains.
Gazebos; swimming pool furnishings (dummy rocks, fountains, small bridges,
chairs, pavements); artistic staircases; fountains; flower boxes; home stone furnishing: basins, kitchens, sofas, tables.
3. Playgrounds and kindergarten.
Fantasy buildings, tunnels, caves, mountains.
Temples, bell towers, altars, statues, arches, columns.
5. Natural Parks / Zoo – Recreational.
Nearly zero environment impact architecture, bungalows, aquariums, caves.
Reproduction of buildings, fantasy/futurist shapes, caves for movies.
Any artistic feature: horses, heads, etc.
Missing parts of columns, etc.
8. Large scale rapid prototyping.
Half scale or 1/4 scale models of buildings, copies of any existing building; cave spheres, ellipsoids, pyramids.
9. Civil engineering / Complex industrial plant parts.
Bridge portions, road portions, tube sections, pillars portions, stone floating, harbor sections, marina furnishing, variable section beams and columns, Water depuration, insulation plates
10. Stone machines.
Stone doors, stone bearings, articulated stone structures.
d_shape appeals to two different kind of costumers:
- Building contractors to make one to two floor buildings.
- Architectural Firms that need to make scaled models of buildings.
- All generic sandstone product manufacturers.
- Building equipment suppliers.
Media and Arts industry:
- Studios that make dummy rocks for aquariums, swimming pools and wellness centres.
- Fantasy structures for recreational/adventure/ parks and the sandstone sculptors.
- Museums and Foundations that need to replicate monuments and temples.
101 Wardour Street London W1F 0UN
Registered in England and Wales No. 6030577
phone: +44(0) 207 4398222 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44(0) 207 4398222 end_of_the_skype_highlighting +39 0789 6842828 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +39 0789 6842828 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Enrico Dini, inventor
phone: +44(0) 789 9720264 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44(0) 789 9720264 end_of_the_skype_highlighting +39 348 6004369 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +39 348 6004369 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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- November 8, 2010 / 21:06