The Building Bytes project led by Brian Peters, co-founder of Amsterdam-based Design Lab Workshop, aims to develop new methods of fabrication for use in architecture.
One of these new technologies is using 3D-printers to print bricks from ceramic materials. Peters has been working with 3D printers for the past few yeas and wanted to develop the machines to create something larger that could be used in buildings. During a six-week residency at the European Ceramic Work Center in the south of Holland he experimented with printing ceramics.
Several 3D printers were modified with a new custom extrusion head that prints using a liquid earthenware recipe normally used for making ceramic moulds. From the Building Bytes project it’s hoped that 3D printers capable of creating these bricks will become portable, inexpensive brick factories.
“You could have several of these machines working simultaneously on site using pre-made or locally manufactured material,” Peters says. “It doesn’t have to be necessarily ceramic – it could be concrete or cement or any mixture of building materials.”
It currently takes around 15 minutes to create each brick, which isn’t yet acceptable for practical use, and he readily admits that it’s not going to be competing with traditional materials at the moment. It does open up the possibility of having a custom designed structure created and assembled on site in the future, saving costs and allowing more interesting designs.