July 1, 2010: 3D Printer On The Moon
Computer-aided cutting is nothing new. Heck, we've even got a laser-powered version here in the office. And "3D printers," where solids are built by laying down layer after layer of "dots" of wax or plastic, have been around for years.
Enrico Dini has taken things a step further. Instead of spraying a liquid that hardens into a solid, his printer takes dust and adds a binder. The result is solid stone, easily usable for construction of structures too complex for traditional methods.
Of course, if all the machine needs is dust, the lunar regolith might have the perfect material. D-Shape could then build a lunar base with minimal human supervision.
-- Paul Chapman
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