Unleash the building bots: 3d printing structures with an autonomous robot swarm


  • Aant van der Zee Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Paul de Ruiter TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Hayo Meijs TBI Kennislab




3D printing structures, mobile 3D printing machine, minibuilders, building robot


3D printing techniques for the building industry are developing fast. Concepts like Contour printing, concrete printing concepts of the TU/E and D Shape are examples. Despite the range of techniques is broad (and vary from a large gantry system, to a supersized Delta printer for example), many of the developed 3D printing machines are constraint in their movement. Mobile 3D printers however show advantages in flexibility, as they can move outside the constraint of a large 3D printer and they can move in the highly unstructured and hazardous environment of the building site, which can be dangerous for people to work in. The Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia developed vehicles, which they call minibuilders, each designed for a special task in the building process, printing the foundation, printing a wall, smoothing the outer-wall etc. The minibuilders are used in succession according the building process. However they are still limited in their autonomy and capability. The minibuilders are tethered with a hose to a vehicle, which carries the concrete supply.