- Autodesk has unveiled its newest foray into 3-D printing research with Project Escher, one of the first devices with the ability to 3-D print large objects quickly, according to Fast Company.
- Autodesk’s Cory Bloome told Fast Company that Project Escher — which is still in the experimental phase — creates a "hive mind" and utilizes a network of several 3-D printing "bots" at once, with all placed in a gantry and each bot printing a piece of an object until it’s finished in one continuous piece. The more bots, the faster the printing.
- Autodesk said that while 3-D printers are the only parts that have been tested in the gantry, the system could eventually incorporate robotic arms to add objects like wires and circuit boards, paving the way to potentially print large, complicated items like cars.
Autodesk, according to Project Escher product marketing lead Kimberley Losey, is targeting its solution toward industries like aerospace, automotive and construction that need to print large items quickly.
Each week seems to bring more advanced applications of 3-D printing. With 3-D printers being used for concrete, housing, hotels, office buildings and even satellites in outer space, innovators are looking for ways the construction industry might one day benefit from the new technology.
Italian company WASP — creator of Big Delta, the world’s largest delta-style 3-D printer — recently announced plans to 3-D print a complete Italian village called Shambhala, furniture included, in the industrial section of Massa Lombarda. WASP said the village will be self-sufficient, high tech, eco-friendly and use minimal energy.
In another case, researchers in England received a $3.3 million grant in February to explore aerial additive building manufacturing (ABM) and the possibilities for its use in building remote disaster housing. Researchers intend to use drones to gather site information, which will then be fed to building information modeling software. From that data, researchers said they will attempt to design a building, then send 3-D printing drones back to the site to build it.