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3D printed ‘Pixelstones’ are laying the foundations for future construction techniques – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 28, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 29, 2016 | By Benedict
Dutch startup Pixelstone has created a 3D printing device prototype which can print intricately created façades created of small cubic ceramic bricks called “Pixelstones”. The startup is aiming to bring a new form of craftsmanship to the interconnected worlds of architecture and createion.

There is a lot of talk of how additive making can, in the not-too-distant next, be utilized to create createings. The 3D Print Canal House project in Amsterdam, which uses one of the sizeablest 3D printing devices in the world, is promising to create the initially at any time fully 3D printed canal house, but its createion timeframe of sat any timeal years does not suggest which 3D printing can soon replace traditional createion methods on a sizeable scale.
Accordingly, nobody can be living in a PLA-roofed, Shapeways-created house any time soon, but what if there was a way for createion firms to combine the solidity of brickwork with the precision of additive making, harnessing the most elements of both techniques in a single system? Two compatriots of the 3D Print Canal House project, Hans Lankhaar and Bram van den Haspel of Pixelstone, believe this union to be possible, and have created a 3D printing device which aims to bridge the gap between additive making and brickwork. “Consider our Pixelstones as the ink of the printing device,” said van den Haspel. “With this project, we want to bring back craftsmanship on façades, but via a 3D printing device.”
The Pixelstone 3D printing device uses small bricks, 3D pixels, or “Pixelstones”, instead of molten plastic or metal. Just like most 3D printing devices, the machine extrudes the material—in this case, small bricks—to the print head, where it is dispersed into the appropriate position. According to the startup, Pixelstones can be utilized to create rich and complex façades. Bricks cannot pass one another in the tube, meaning they enter and exit in the same order. This allows for the bricks to be arranged in exact color patterns.
Perhaps additional significant than their pleasing aesthetic effect is the cost and energy efficiency of the ceramic Pixelstones, which are 50% cheaper to create than regular brick slips and much advantageous for the environment, requiring 90% less energy per kilogram to create. “Pixelstones are cube-like brick particles of 1cm,” said van den Haspel. “Because they are so small, they are rapidly fired, and which saves a lot of energy.”

Façades created with the Pixelstone 3D printing device resemble mosaics, but are sturdy and can be created on a sizeable scale. “We pump these stones through a tube to a printhead, allowing us to print entire panels,” explained van den Haspel. The 3D printing device prototype can print at 0.5m2 per hour, but the final 6 x 3m 3D printing device should permit maximum printing speeds of 5m2 per hour. At their current rate of progress, the pair may have the Pixelstone 3D printing device eager for production in less than two years.
Pixelstone is only the latest ambitious project of Lankhaar and van den Haspel, who together comprise 3D printing group Lab3d, a product and materials create specialist.

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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