Home / Tech News / MIT’s giant mobile 3D printer can build a building in 14 hours, and some day it may be headed to Mars

MIT’s giant mobile 3D printer can build a building in 14 hours, and some day it may be headed to Mars



At first glance, the Digital Construction Platform looks as awkward as its name. A nozzle is attached to the end of a pair of robotic arms atop a rover-like vehicle outfitted with tank treads. Then there’s a flatbed trailer attached to the back, with two big metal tanks strapped to its top. The system is actually a giant, mobile 3D printer, and the MIT team behind it believes it could help revolutionize home construction both here on Earth and other planets in the distant future.

The notion of 3D printing a house isn’t a new one, of course. It’s been tried before with varying degrees of success. What sets this project apart from much of its competition, however, is a move away from modularity, toward a system capable of printing a structure in one single go.

The system is freed of the special constraints of a more traditional 3D printer by the long industrial robotic arm out front. Another, more precise arm is attached to the end of that one, allowing it to be controlled with much more precision. This gives the system much a larger build space than a traditional 3D printer, which is constrained by the limited volume of its print bed.

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