Contour crafting is a building printing technology being researched by Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (in the Viterbi School of Engineering) that uses a computer-controlled crane or gantry to build edifices rapidly and efficiently with substantially less manual labor. Contour Crafting is an additive fabrication technology that uses computer control to exploit the superior surface-forming capability of troweling to create smooth and accurate planner and free-form surfaces.
The key feature of Contour Crafting is the use of two trowels, which in effect act as two solid planer surfaces, to create surfaces on the object being fabricated that are smooth and accurate.
In CC, computer control is used to take advantage of the superior surface forming capability of troweling to create smooth and free-form surfaces. The layering approach enables the creation of various surface shapes. It is a hybrid method that combines an extrusion process for forming the object surfaces and injection process to build the object core.
The extrusion nozzle has a top and a side trowel. As the material is extruded, the traversal of the trowels creates smooth outer and top surfaces on the layer. The side trowel can be deflected to create non-orthogonal surfaces. The extrusion process builds only the outside edges of each layer. After completion of extrusion each closed section of a given layer, if needed filler materials such as concrete can be fill in the area defined by the extruded rims.
Interesting aspects of this automated construction concept
Maximum flexibility for architectural design allowing custom designs to be fabricated directly from computer model of the building.
Possibility for automatic imbedding of plumbing, electrical and communication networks.
Dramatic impact on cost and speed (a 200 m2, two- story house may be built within two days).
Simplicity of construction logistics and management.
Friendliness to the environment due to low emissions and waste less operation.
Significantly reduced energy usage compared to manual construction.
Integrated Contour Crafting
It includes a control module, a geometry analysis module, a planning and optimization module and a presentation module. The control module is a digital control of the Contour Crafting machine. The geometry analysis having structure feasibility analysis and support structure generation to annotate the original geometry. The planning and optimization module includes tool path planning, multi-nozzle coordination and other operational issues. 3D presentation and real time simulation functions are included in the presentation module. The machine task sequences are fed to the Contour Crafting machine for construction execution after process planning, optimization and simulation.
Applications of Contour Crafting
Application in construction