In December, the NYCEDC launched an open call for alternative ways to fix up the pilings, asking the hivemind of local engineers and designers to come up with cheaper, smarter methods. Several weeks ago, the group announced an unlikely winner: D-Shape, the famed Italian concrete 3D printing company, which received $50k for a concept that would 3D scan the old pilings and 3D print concrete reinforcements.
Here’s how their scheme would work. A team of workers would use a 3D scanner to take accurate reading of each piling. Then, based on the scans, they’d use a generative algorithm to create the ideal structural reinforcements for each piling. The team at D-Shape would print each column and pack it in an inflatable raft, which would be towed into the harbor and slowly deflated. That would allow a team of divers to control the placement of the reinforcements, as they sink into the harbor. All in all, the team estimates the plan could save the city $2.9 billion dollars. And if the city decides to test it, the project could be the first successful example of 3D printing at an infrastructural scale.
This is my final design inspired by the work of Chuck Hoberman. 3D printed in 132 parts, pre-assembled on Solidworks and printed using an EOS Formiga P100. Once fully cleaned the sphere is able to expand and contract fully. More designs coming soon!
The Desktop Factory Competition launched in June 2012 challenged makers to design a cheap, open source method to turn plastic pellets (which sell for $10 kg) into filament suitable for a desktop 3D printer (that currently sells for $50 per kg). 83 Year old inventor Hugh Lyman developed the Lyman Filament Extruder II which for under $250 in parts can take standard plastic ABS pellets and squeeze them into filament.
The fact that this device is released as open source hardware means that others can modify and improve the mechanism to lower the cost and increase the efficiency, just as we have seen with the open source desktop 3D printers based on the RepRap.
Not only will this result in a massive reduction in the cost of raw 3D printing media, but it is also a very small step away from being able to grind and reuse failed 3D prints to feed into fresh new filament, or perhaps adding conductive media into the hopper to create filament suitable for making basic elctronic circuitry, or any type of tweak to customize the base material.
The speed of innovation in the open source 3D printing world is making many of the large industrial 3D printer manufacturers appear to be moving in slow motion. We are not seeing the same rate of innovation in machines nor materials and we at Shapeways would LOVE to have new materials to share, or have a way to drop the material cost by a factor of five or ten as we see made possible by innovations like the The Lyman Filament Extruder.
Congratulations to Hugh Lyman who scored a giant $40,000 cheque for his invention and the respect of thousands of makers around the world.
”Recently debuting on Dita Von Teese, the dress was created virtually with Schmidt designing it exclusively on his iPad and communicating with Bitonti via Skype. The process included the printing of 17 pieces and 3,000 joints that allow the dress to move as the body does. Shapeways did the printing of each piece and once complete, they were lacquered black and detailed with 13,000 black Swarovski crystals.”