These researchers want to create 3D printers that move like robots

The Break the Grid initiative has a plan to repair the deficiencies in the environment with the help of 3D printers that move autonomously.

3D printing applications surface like mushrooms in autumn. Since the technology became cheaper at an affordable level a few years ago, there are still possibilities that enrich this field.

Specialists have created machines that build entire houses, while they have also explored the possibility of reproducing organs with 3D bioprinting. However, until now the possibility of a mobile 3D printer had not been considered. Needless to say, there are many that are transportable. The one that builds a house, no, of course. But those designed to create objects of moderate size, are transportable.

The concept of the Break the Grid initiative is different, however. It’s about creating 3D robots printers. Machines that can move themselves where they are needed. The idea is to combine 3D printing technology with autonomous driving for vehicles of all types.

The proposal comes from three Danish companies, GXN Innovation, The Danish A; Hub and Map Architects, who have imagined what 3D printers could do if they were able to swim, fly or crawl.

With this idea in mind, companies have designed three 3D printers. Each of them covers a medium: land, sea and air. The land is a six-legged robot that could be used to correct irregularities in the asphalt of the roads. The machine that would be able to move in the water could be used to mix glue with sand and form coral barriers. The 3D printer that flies would be oriented to add thermal insulation in very tall buildings.

A futuristic approach to repairs

The vision of the Break the Grid initiative is truly groundbreaking. For now they are only designs on paper – rather on the computer – but they are also a way of thinking beyond. So far the possibility that 3D printers could move autonomously had not been raised. What these enthusiasts have done has been to open that door.

The advantages would undoubtedly be relevant. When it comes to restocking corals, one of the uses that has been explored for 3D printers, it would not be necessary to carry a whole team of personnel to carry out the task. As for punctual repairs, such as those that could occur on the roads, these could be fixed frequently, instead of waiting until they were extensively damaged to deploy the machinery.

Flying 3D printers – the most futuristic version of these machines – would be aimed at limiting the risk of some jobs. As the drones do today, with the inspection of power lines, these devices would prevent workers from developing their work at high altitude.

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