It's the intersection of two emerging technologies. Two designers at LA-based architecture firm Gensler have created a drone that can also print 3D concrete. Tam Tran and Jared Shier, Assoc. AIA, showcased their work at South by Southwest's Robot Petting Zoo in Austin in March, and recently Hallie Busta profiled the MUPPette project for Architect magazine, a sister publication to Concrete Construction.
Their goal is to remove one of 3D printing's biggest limitations: the size of the print bed. By taking the technology airborne, the designers say, architects and engineers could one day create at an unprecedented scale as well as in areas where it would otherwise be difficult to haul construction materials or where a conventional, large-scale 3D printer isn’t practical ... The custom-assembled drone sports GPS sensors, a laser rangefinder for altitude control, as well as a novel 3D printer that the team 3D printed and attached to the unit complete with a gravity-assisted spiral conveyor whose open top allows for easy refilling. “You can basically call it a Frankenstein of parts that comes together to do what it does,” Tran says.