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Large scale 3D printing
Evidence separates truth from fiction.
Can't open the link properly on my iPad (having internet issues) but I saw an idea like this a while ago for rapid construction. The concept was for a modified truck to approach a lot where foundations had been dug, unfold into a large printer and pipe modified concrete from a second truck to print a building in a matter of days.

It's intriguing although I wonder if it will ever catch on. Personally I've always thought that one way materials science and rapid custom manufacturing could revolutionise architecture would be the design and creation of flat pack buildings. Slot supports and panels for walls, floor and ceiling and away you go.
I wonder if they could do it with something other than concrete? Globally, the making of cement is responsible for 7-10% of our CO2 emissions. Climate change is real and anything we can do to slow it down would be helpfull. Maybe they could use a geopolymer as the binder, or make the cement with a process like S.T.E.P. (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Production): Solar thermal heat (not fossil fuel heat) melts the limestone which then undergoes an electrolysis process that reduces the carbon dioxide (adds electrons) to produce only lime, oxygen, and graphite which can be readily stored as solid carbon. As an added plus lime will recarbonate as it cures by taking CO2 out of the air so in use the houses become net carbon sinks if the original carbon is stored as graphite.
Evidence separates truth from fiction.
Here's a more extensive article on the subject,

though we need to remember that 3d printing is one of many manufacturing processes in space, and traditional building methods, combined with assembly line manufacturing can be just as or more effective for certain applications

This project should give a few ideas to the possibilities for printing houses with sand

and this one (though it hasn't been printed at scale yet)

I'm not sure that 3d printing will pan out for printing certain materials or achieving certain tolerances, particularly with metal in asteroids.

Maximalism is happening!
Very nifty stuffSmile

Regarding the issue of working with something other than concrete - smaller 3D printers have been made to work with all kinds of stuff, including peanut butter, so it seems likely that something could be figured out.

One idea that comes to mind (that we might incorporate into OA) would be 'biocrete', basically some sort of biological adhesive (there are some very strong ones out there), that lets you stick raw sand together as something as tough as concrete or nearly so. If it could be produced in bioreactors incorporated into a 3D printing machine, then you might have a tech that could rapidly produce buildings as is described here, but without all the CO2. Just a thought.

On a somewhat different note, I had a notion today (which we've sort of kicked around before) about combining 3D printing with nanotech. Imagine a nanoforge that creates cell sized devices of some kind in one part of itself and then uses a technique similar to tissue printing to rapidly lay them down in 3D shapes. As they come into contact with each other they bond together to form a substance that is not as strong as pure nanotube or diamondoid but which might be as strong as wood or bone (or a good bit stronger) and which is filled with computronium and/or other useful nanogadgets. It might also be laid down not just as rigid solids but, like a tissue printed heart, be able to configure as fibrous structures like muscle that could flex and bend (while also incorporating very unbiological type techs inside itself.

Looking at this from the timeline revision, I think this sort of 3D printing could definitely fit into both the early timeline, eventually incorporating nanotech and then merging with it but also could be used in the development of space bases and colonies around the early solar system (or even later in the timeline).

Need some sleep now but just to note that so called tissue printing is not simply the deposition of cells resulting in the creation of a product. It is essentially a method of ensuring spatial distribution of cell culture onto a scaffold; essentially it's one out of maaaaaany steps. Funnily enough this is the second time this has come up to day, at the lab today we were talking about how bioprinting has become the latest term to be misused in an attempt to get citations and investment by misrepresenting the technology.

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