We are three high-school students from Luxembourg, where the housing situation is complicated: housing prices are very high and building ground is limited. As a result, many Luxembourgish citizens have to settle abroad and commute every day, creating other transportation, infrastructure and economic issues.
Our contribution to this major national challenge is the Design of a modular 3D printer, able to print objects out of concrete. Such an innovation could make housing far more accessible since the prices would drastically decrease. Building would become cheaper, faster and more economical, as it would not waste as many resources as regular constructions.
However, its benefits are not limited to our country: it would also simplify the work in certain application areas, for example for disaster response, humanitarian aid in dangerous regions, science, defence, event infrastructure or industry.
Our self-defined mission is to build a fully functional prototype. In order to do so, we developed three innovations: we focused on (1) programming, (2) creating an adapted concrete and (3) building a functioning mechanical machine.
(1) To program our printer, we used parts of online open source code (from Github.com) that we adapted into a Software able to control our electronics.
(2) Concrete is made of water, sand and cement, with the proportions of each component able to be adapted to a constructor’s needs. Our material had to be fluid enough to go through the pump but it also had to dry fast enough to stay in shape and to stay stable. We experimented in a specialised concrete lab of the University of Luxembourg until we found a balanced formula.
(3) We also built a new 3D printing System, consisting of four towers, connected by a mobile platform, possessing the extruder and 2D axis drive, which controlled electro motors can lift (Z Axis).
Development are ongoing, and the first results are very promising.
At this stage, we would like to thank everyone for their support and feedback on our project, which helps us pursuing our goal.
We would like to thank one of our professors for his personal commitment and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks, recognition and deep respect. Our professor, Mr. Philippe Kirsch, has always assisted and advised us during his leisure time and has invested his know-how in our project. His invaluable collaboration has enabled us to realize the actual fully operational and reliable prototype of our 3D printer.
We would aso like to thank the headmaster of the Lycée Aline Mayrisch, Mr. Gaston Ternes, our professors, the staff at the mechanical workshop, the professors at the University of Luxembourg, the management of the “Fondation Jeunes Scientifiques” and the Paul Wurth company. We very much appreciated your support.
We have had an amazing journey through this project so far, and we’re looking forward to the next steps…