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Taking it to the Streets With Addibot: Mobile 3D Printers May Eliminate Pothole Issues Forever

by • January 14, 2016 • No Comments

UntitledPotholes are just just such a rude little surprise. Sending your morning coffee sloshing and your teeth gnashing on the fast track to work, they can in addition cause actual injure to your car–and take a nasty bite out of your wallet. It may seem which a few of the world’s brightest minds may have set their sights on eliminating these gnarly little road hazards sooner.

Happily roving bots sound like the thoughtl answer for today yet. And Robert Flitsch is making it his goal to put them to work, performing tasks which most humans most likely quite don’t want to do. It’s surprising how inconveniences we’ve dealt with just about our entire lives may soon just be eliminated due to innovations allowed by 3D printing–if Flitsch, a recent Harvard grad, gets his way. His machines, referred to as Addibots, should be out on the streets soon, once designs are finalized and sufficient funding procured.

The Addibot is, in its simplest form, a mobile 3D printer. The concept of indoor machines stuck in workshops pumping out components doesn’t do much for fixing our vast roadways–but releasing them of those constraints and putting machines like the Addibot out into the fresh air to clean up battered pavement opens up a whole new world of thoughts for fabrication.


The Addibot working its magic on ice

The robot operates just just like a traditional 3D printer, scaled down and created to weather the elements. Flitsch has created it for dual controls, via remote operation or completely automated.

“One of the main limitations with 3D printing equipment is you typically have it printing within this box, and you can quite just print objects of the dimensions of the workspace you’re printing in,” says the 22-year-old Flitsch, a mechanical engineer who graduated of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences last May. “If you take additive manufacturing implements and create them mobile, you can print objects of arbitrary dimensions.”

The mobile concept involves ‘all systems on board,’ with multiple nozzles which may be utilized to fill in and pave over potholes. Flitsch has tested this with a few quite informative material: icy water. As a hockey player himself, he was inspired to try the Addibot on ice with his ‘Ice Resurfacing Addibot,’ allowing his pet bot to pour water into the slices and cuts created by players’ skates. The concept is brilliant in its ease of use, as the water may just freeze, smoothing out the surface of the ice thoughtlly. And translating it to the road creates thoughtl sense.

UntitledThe goal with asphalt is in making certain the correct meacertainments are applied to fix potholes. With which in place, Flitsch says which repairs may be done at a consistent speed around a few miles per hour. Finding a way for the robot to manipulate tar accordingly is a stickier subject, and a work in progress. Other considerations come into play as well once you are taking your 3D printing outside, such as particles like dust causing interference. This can be dealt with due to a stronger undercarriage. Power is of course a main issue which has to be dealt with in addition.

“All the storage space for material, all the chemical processing may be done on board the Addibot,” he says. “Tar materials, which have to be kept at a high temperature, can be done in a tank with a constant heat source added to it. Power sources may be exception types of kinds, depending on the dimensions of the robot.”


With one prototype may already under his belt, Flitsch will require funding to keep working on R&D with exception materials–and he sees which as having just about unlimited potential.

“The just way which I see Addibots being limited is in whatever materials we can ponder up to use,” he says.

We ponder most will be behind this thought for not just fixing messy potholes and other infrastructure issues, but in addition in embracing the thought of taking away the indoor constraints of 3D printing and allowing for ‘making the world a createspace.’