ETH Zürich's construction robot creates Rock Print Pavilion from loose stones and string

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Oct 3, 2018 | By Thomas

Researchers at ETH Zürich are showing off their construction robot who has 3D printed a temporary pavilion using stones and string as part of an exhibition at the Gewerbemuseum in the city of Winterthur.

The construction robot used thirty tonnes of loose stones and 120 kilometres of string to build the Rock Print Pavilion. The temporary installation is a research project run by Gramazio Kohler Research, the ETH Chair of Architecture an Digital Fabrication, and is part of the “Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine” exhibition.

Image © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich

The construction robot, known as the ‘in situ fabricator’, worked for a total of four weeks to build a total of 11 three-meter-high (10 ft) pillars. But the question is how can a structure made of loose stones and string support an eight-tonne steel roof?

The bot uses what’s known as “jamming,” and the ETH research project “Design and Robotic Fabrication of Jammed Architectural Structures” is focused on the robot-based assembly of simple, loose and granular base materials. The loose stones interlock together; when combined with the arrangement of string between the gravel layers – which is continuously calculated by the robot – this creates a stable, highly durable structure.

The construction robot worked for a total of four weeks to build the columns. Image © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich © Michael Lio

Image © Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich © Michael Lio

The Rock Print Pavilion is exploring the possibilities offered by digital and robotic manufacturing. Recycling is also embedded into the project: the components can be easily dismantled and the material reused.

Posted in 3D Printer

Source: ETH Zurich

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