Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing of Concrete Using a 6-Axis Robotic Arm for Autonomous Habitat Construction

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Watson, N.D.
Meisel, N.A.
Bilén, S.G.
Duarte, J.
Nazarian, S.

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University of Texas at Austin


Layer-by-layer construction of concrete through additive manufacturing allows for greater design freedom in concrete construction compared to conventional casting methods. This has led researchers to pursue a variety of potential system solutions to the enable the creation of architectural-scale additively-manufactured concrete structures. One of the most common approaches is through the extrusion of concrete patterned via a six-axis robotic arm. However, while the use of a six-axis robotic arm can offer significant geometric advantages in the printing of architectural-scale concrete structures, it also suffers from significant challenges that must be addressed. In this paper, the authors discuss potential methods to address such challenges associated with (1) minimizing travel moves in toolpath design, (2) expanding the achievable build volume, and (3) inserting pre-fabricated components in a structure being printed. These solutions are then demonstrated through the context of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.


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