Saturday, July 23, 2011

San Francisco Exploratorium’s New Home to Become Largest U.S. Net-Zero Energy Museum

The new Exploratorium is finally coming to life. Mignon O'Young of the GABreport posted a great update on the project on July 7.

The project is very ambitious on many fronts and is located on the busy Embarcadero next to the Tcho chocolate factory (look forward to exploring some chocolate before and/or after visiting the new location).

Rick Feldman of EHDD architecture is the project manager and has been involved with the Exploratorium team for ten years.

The new building is scheduled to open in 2013 and you can explore progress here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

3D Printing and the Emerging American Century

Manufacturing Growth (and jobs!) in the U.S. This report from The Breakthrough Institute makes a very good case for advanced manufacturing as an information technology-based solution for job creation in the manufacturing sector.

If we combine the massive disruption software is causing in many industries, "Why Software is Eating the World" by Marc Andreessen, with digital fabrication, the future looks very bright indeed for the U.S. economy.

A thought-provoking article from the Forbes blog on how America is ideally positioned to capitalize on the emerging 3D printing trend.

A good update to the February 2011 cover article in the Economist Magazine, "Print Me a Stradivarius: How a new manufacturing technology will change the world."

The article by Pascal Emmanuel Gobry on "The Next Trillion Dollar Industry: 3D Printing" also created a lot of buzz. It also refers to Contour Crafting as possibly the most ambitious 3D printing company. Maybe. But I don't want to live in a concrete house (nor a toxic plastic one). And I can't imagine a a more environmentally friendly building material than wood. Even with the rapid innovation in materials science combined with nano-scale printing, wood simply has too many environmental benefits, is renewable, and trees are, by definition, great for the environment - and planet.

And a YouTube Video showing additive printing research using concrete to "materialize" architecture.

Scott Summit speaking on the future of 3D printing at Singularity U.

Additional recent articles supporting the opportunities and efficiencies of a strong domestic manufacturing sector include, "Manufacturing Just for You," "Innovation Depends on a Robust Manufacturing Sector," and "Why Manufacturing Matters," - all from the July issue of the MIT Technology Review.

And now the NewScientist website on "3D Printing: Second Industrial Revolution is Under Way."

Now to apply more of these technologies to the building industry and capitalize on integrated additive and subtractive fabrication for factories that are, in essence, 3D house printers. Where on-demand fabrication of mass-customized homes meets web-based, real-time, design.

And National Geographic coverage helped this video get to over 4 million views. Watch a 3D crescent wrench get printed below.

The future of building is already here, we just need to integrate the best technologies and keep building. We are already well on our way using "subtractive" printing with wood and steel instead of "additive" with powders and composites. Below is a video showing how we use manufacturing/design software to design for cnc fabrication.

and we then use a Hundegger (or other) line to cut the timbers. Example below, and more video examples here.

AFTER you turn your sound down watch this video of the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain to see a very large building fabricated using cam/cnc.