I know this is crazy, but it sounds fun… I have a lot of garnet from our water jetting. I’ve found that it can be used to make cement. Before I make a printer that prints with concrete as the material, I want to design and make a printer that uses concrete as the chassis for the printer. Just for grins.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I think it could be a novel way to make printers that perform well when materials used in conventional 3D printer construction aren’t available. You could make a printer pretty cheaply anywhere in the world. It could be a fairly large printer too. Perhaps if the concept is proven, I could use concrete to make a printer that prints concrete
Instead of linear rails or other metal for all the axis, perhaps cheap plumbing pipe could be used for the X axis and concrete rails could be used for the Z axis and the y axis. I’d use the Printrbot original design for this. The bed could travel on wheels on the y rail and wheels could be used for the X axis pipe to travel up and down the concrete z axis. I think this would be the simplest design.
It would be a low resolution printer designed to make large things with a 1mm nozzle. It may not be pretty but a large nozzle would mean structurally sound objects could be made with useful utility.
I like the idea of recycling plastic locally to feed a simple printer too. Large nozzles would allow impurities to pass through if the plastic was a little dirty.
Preciousplastic.com has great plans for shredders, but they require a lot of welding. Not a big deal but theoretically, concrete could provide the structure to set the axle and bearing in and provide plenty of strength.
I got to thinking about this year’s ago when I attended MakerCon and met a guy who repaired tanks in the field. They would drop machinists into an area after a battle where a bunch of broken tanks were abandoned. The first thing they would do is scavenge one of the tanks for parts and make a massive lathe out of concrete and tank parts. The man I met helped design and build these lathes. Since structural rigidity is everything in Cnc machining, he joked that they just attached the large to the earth, which didn’t move much. They would do their work, then blow up the lathe before leaving. Those guys were makers!
So anyone interested in helping me design the world’s first 3D printer made of concrete? Open source of course. Imagine not having to deal with and rigidity issues! I suppose it would make a killer Cnc platform too.
As far as concrete, I think 1mm nozzle is far too small. I think you’d be talking 2.5cm or more to get something worthwhile. The secret here is in the sauce - the concrete mixtures are apparently what take the most experimentation.
I would guess a 1/2 inch to 1 inch nozzle for concrete. A 3 mm or bigger nozzle for junk plastic with a hopper extruder. A 1.5 mm or bigger nozzle for glass ( which you can get plenty of from the local bar, I am sure).
Approach the Ready Mixed Concrete industry . The concrete is delivered to the site in large concrete mixers and then pumped into the space where the concrete is cast . Lintels could also be used as a printer framework . The prefabricated concrete buildings industry is a potentially huge market for 3D printing and the supply of plastic and rubber molds . http://www.cpi-worldwide.com , Concrete Plant International .
@Nicolas_Arias I like to order a Big-E from Brook for our recycling concept on our school, but what keep me hesitating is, that it only make sense when we can get a bigger extruder for the printer. Let me know what we can rock together.
This strikes me as something that would be incredibly useful as a field-expedient type printer for military use. A barebones kit of parts combined with locally sourced concrete could enable 3d printing anywhere on the planet, and hopefully bring costs down significantly as well.