COBOD lets engineers design their own concrete 3D printer with a new configuration app
Construction additive manufacturing specialist COBOD launched a new application that allows users to configure their own concrete 3D printer.
Aptly named the COBOD Configuratorthe company’s software is designed to allow not only anyone with a computer or smartphone to virtually configure and simulate the construction of a 3D printed house, but also those with an eye on technology to experience its modularity and reach out to put it into practice.
The disruptive potential of BOD2
Over the past five years, COBOD has established itself as an early leader in the emerging field of construction 3D printing. In order to achieve its larger goal of disrupting the global construction industry, the company continues to develop its BOD platform, launching the BOD2 in 2018, a gantry-mounted 3D printer that it now markets in three iterations.
Each version of the system is made up of 2.5 meter modules, which can be stacked on its X, Y and Z axes to allow the erection of multi-storey structures, with floors up to a size of 12 m (W ) x 27m (W) x 9m (H). Newer models are also said to feature a redesigned tangential nozzle, which gives users greater control over the quality and texture of walls, reducing the need for post-processing.
In practice, the modular 3D printer has been applied to build structures of all shapes and sizes since erecting its first habitable 3D printed building in Copenhagen. For example, GE Renewable Energy and Lafarge Holcim have pledged to use technology to create a record-high wind turbine tower, while co-owner PERI used it in several builds, including that of a 3D-printed German apartment building.
More recently, COBOD entered into a partnership with the Mexican building materials specialist CEMEX thus, resulting in a new concrete that “takes shape instantly”. Leveraging this new formulation, the companies have already built Angola’s first 3D-printed house and a three-bed house in Oman, which they claim is the biggest additive made from “real” concrete.
Accessible concrete 3D printing?
Using the COBOD Configurator for the first time, it is initially difficult to tell whether it is designed to meet the needs of its existing customer base or to attract the attention of an entirely new audience. Essentially, the software allows users to change the settings of a simulated BOD2 3D printer, before deploying their chosen setup to build an entire computer-generated house from scratch.
In the configurator, budding and skilled engineers can choose the width, length and height of their virtual, modular COBOD system. By doing so, users can build anything from a 2 x 2 x 2 module machine capable of erecting a 184 square foot apartment, to a full-fledged 5(W) x 20( W) x 4 (H), with the ability to produce three-story structures with a floor area of up to 6,327 square feet.
For those looking for the most realistic representation of the BOD2 in action, the 3D printer itself, along with its concrete mixing facilities, pipe management setup and build volume indicator app, can also be turned off in the settings, but its simulation’ Neighborhood feature seems (on the surface at least) to be there for looks only.
Likewise, rather than allowing users to design and build their own home, the software limits them to building one it has already built, or a pre-designed model being worked on. While this can be a handy way for interested parties to understand what’s come before and offers a healthy range of use cases, it’s hard not to view the feature as a missed opportunity.
That being said, the app’s depth of configuration options should be more than enough to satisfy those with a passing interest in technology. Whether this plot will win over those with deep enough pockets to put what they’ve learned into practice is another matter, but as it stands, the software is at least a fun and visually engaging way to play games. learn construction 3D printing.
Available as a browser-based web application and apps on iOS and Android stores, the COBOD Configurator is now available for free.
COBOD construction competitors
Although COBOD is undoubtedly one of the cutting edge of 3D concrete printing, the technology still has a long way to go before it can disrupt the traditional construction industry. The company doesn’t exactly have a monopoly on the process either, and companies like ICON even managed to attract over $460 million in funding to fund the development of its own version of the technology.
At a less commercialized level, a large number of start-ups and university teams are also experimenting with additive manufacturing in concrete, yielding impressive results. In Japan, for example, Serendix Partners He is said to have 3D printed a spherical house in 24 hours, which is small but sturdy enough to meet the country’s demanding anti-seismic standards.
In Dubai, on the other hand, the specialist in ecological construction WASP Last year, a 3D-printed Dior pop-up store was 3D printed to showcase some of the fashion house’s collections. Using its proprietary Delta 3D printers, the company found it was able to lay down a combination of clay, sand and raw fibers in layers, to form a stable (but branded) edge store. of beach.
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Featured image shows the new COBOD Configurator app. Photo by COBOD.