The European Space Agency (ESA) and London-bases architectural firm Foster + Partners are working on a way to 3D print a lunar base. For this project they will be using local soil – regolith - instead of plastics, in order to reduce the amount of brought materials and lower the overall costs.
The idea is to create a weight-bearing dome with cellular structured walls to provide for shelter against micrometeoroids and space radiation. The base needs to be sufficient to take in up to four astronauts. Since the team is testing the project down on earth, it simulates soil using a mixture of silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron and magnesium oxide. In addition, they use a vacuum chamber in order to simulate the moon’s surface. After each print, salt is added to harden up the wall and as it seems, the team has already printed out several wall sections.
It is expected that in the future houses will be built with the help of a 3D printer. Southern Californian company Contour Crafting has already been working on a way to build concrete buildings with a 3D printer, but the company has now found a fellow thinker in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. DUS Architects is working on building a 3D printed canal house, which will be opened to the public by March 1.
The project is called 3D Print Canal House and the home will be 3D printed room by room, using a 20-foot-tall 3D printer, called KamerPrinter (translation: room printer). DUS Architects has started using the construction expo at Januari 10, and they have already created items such as a giant bench. By March 1, visitors can also make a visit to the 3D printing construction site during weekdays. The money the company earns from tickets will be used for the project, which somehow turns it into a crowd funding project where Amsterdam citizens altogether pay for a new building in their city.
Food printing is the most recent hype in the world of 3D printing. This production method 3D prints food layer-by-layer, and several companies are working on techniques to print out proper meals. 3dprinting.com is keeping an eye on the world’s developments and we bring you the ones worth following in 2014.
Last year’s December, we asked ourselves the question whether our future food would become 3D printed. Obviously, it’s hard to give a proper answer to this question, as the technique is still in its developing phase. However, the first signs of food printing are already entering the market. Companies such as Choc Edge and Pic Chocolates are offering services to 3D print people’s self-designed chocolate figurines. In the long term, Natural Machines is a more relevant company to mean something for the overall food sector. The company works on a 3D printer to produce anything that’s made of dough, paste or stiff liquid, such as all pastas and breads.
Eating a pizza in space, how bizzare would that be? Well, it appears to be the future, as NASA has invested as much as 125,000 dollars in a project to 3D print pizzas in space. Anjan Contractor was the person to create this 3D printer and last year he won this gigantic sum of money by NASA. He has now officially come up with a prototype of his 3D pizza printer. R U hungry?
For cosmonauts this will probably be a big relief, if you take into account that they are used to dull space meals. However, we can imagine that this 3D printer will not directly make you hanker for your first 3D printed meal. In this new video by Contractor you can take a look at his machine, which is creating a square pizza layer-by-layer. After the entire 3D printing process this pizza is still a mixture of dough, but the idea behind it is that we have to image what it would look like after it would have been cooked. If we would have to believe Contractor, it only takes 70 seconds to cook such a pizza after being printed.
In the future two developments are thought to become very important: using 3D printers to create food and eating insects. Both developments probably don’t sound too delicious at first sight, but they are thought to be the solution to global food supply problems around 2050. British scientists have combined the “3D printing” and “insects” part in order to develop a technique to turn insects into appetizing meals.
In the near future, the population on earth is expected to grow while we’ll not be having enough food to feed everyone. The European Union and the World Food Organisation agree on the fact that eating insects could be the solution to this problem, as there are loads on insects and they can easily be turned into flour in order to prepare good, healthy meals.
The world of 3D printed food has been taking some big steps, as American candy giant The Hershey Company has teamed up with 3D Systems to produce its own 3D printed sweets. The companies have signed a multi-year joint development agreement in order to implement new ways of creating candy for the masses.
This news followed days after 3D Systems successfully demonstrated its new 3D food printers at CES 2014. The brand new ChefJet and ChefJet Pro can both create sugary products, such as candy. To be more specific, the ChefJet is able to produce candy with one flavor, using sugar, water, ink and one of the possible flavors, such as mint, vanilla, cherry and watermelon. The ChefJet Pro can create candy in different colors and both printers are capable of producing cake toppings and garnishes. They are both expected to be delivered in the second half of 2014.
3D printing can perfectly be used to produce food and there are a lot of companies working on 3D printing techniques to make it easier to prepare a perfect meal. A new company working on building a 3D food printer is MELT icepops from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This company is creating 3D printer that prints out specially designed on-site ice creams.
The printer the company is working on is called the Icepop Generator and the idea behind this device is that it can be used at festivals and events. Visitors will be able to create their own ice pop design, after which the Icepop Generator prints out their designs. This means the machine could easily create an ice cream of your own head using a 3D scanner, or print out a drawing you’ve just made.
There are people in the world of 3D printing who think in the near future most of us will have a 3D printer in our kitchen. If you think about it and look at the current market of 3D food printers, you must admit they have a point saying that. Choc Edge successfully came up with a chocolate printer, Piq Chocolates offers a chocolate printing service, Natural Machines is working on a 3D printer that can produce pastas and breads and even NASA is busy with 3D printing food projects. And now 3D Systems has come up with a new food printer series, demonstrated at CES 2014.
For the first time, UK fighter jets have been flying whilst using 3D printed parts. The reason why 3D printed parts for fighter jets are so useful is that they have the ability to cut costs over £1.2 million over the next four years.
Therefore, on Sunday defense company BAE Systems has brought the news that Tornado fighter jets with 3D printed metallic parts have made a successful test flight at the airfield of the defense firm at Warton, England. This test flight took place in December last year. Some parts made by 3D printing techniques costed less than £100 to produce.
The last couple of days we explained you how to create your own Christmas Ornaments on a 3D printer. Because Christmas is a feast with a lot of food, it’s cool to also learn how to bake your own Christmas cookies on such a 3D Printer. In fact it’s very easy, because everything you need is online on sites such as Thingiverse and YouTube.
Credits: Ralf Holleis.
Thingiverse is a website on which do-it-yourselfers can upload their own 3D printing files in order to make it possible for everyone to create the same objects with a 3D printer. You can find lots of objects on these websites, but also Christmas cookies. Let’s take a look at what the do-it-yourselfers at Thingiverse have to offer us.