Hope It’s Real: 3D Printing Houses With Bricks

You’ve just got to go with the hype on this one, because it’s obviously not ready for prime time yet. But a few days ago murmurs started circling the net that an Australian inventor had developed a robot capable of building complicated structure from brick all by itself.

bricklaying-robotBefore you go off your rocker… we’re definitely not calling this real. It’s a proof of concept at best, but that doesn’t prevent us from getting excited. How long have you been waiting for robots that can build entire structures on our behalf? We were excited at the prospect of extruding walls of concrete. But this is more like LEGO buildings in the real world. The beast cuts brick to length, conveys each brick along the telescoping arm, and butters them as it lays them in place. At least that’s what the rendered video after the break shows.

We’re hearing about this now because FastBrick Robotics, the company [Mark Pivac] founded and has spent ten years developing the Hadrian project at, was just sold to a company called DMY Capital Limited. Of course they’re going to want to get some press out of the sale.

There is an image of the brick feeder on an existing excavator that frankly looks photoshopped. And some real images like the one seen here and another of the “print head” holding some bricks. But it’s enough to think there’s potential here.

The idea is that the base of the robot is fixed with the arm long enough to reach any part of the structure being built. Precise positioning is achieved by a fixed marker in a different position from the robot. The head triangulates its position using laser range-finding with the marker (having said that we now assume there needs to be more than one marker).

So what do you think? Are we ever going to see this incredibly complicated bucket of awesome producing structures in our neighborhood which the Big Bad Wolf simply cannot blow down?

[Thanks Mark via News.com.au]

123 thoughts on “Hope It’s Real: 3D Printing Houses With Bricks

      1. This is like laser trimming of integrated circuits, but on a way different order of magnitude – there we use an X-Y table to do coarse wafer positioning to within .1 mm, then galvos to steer the optics down to sub-micron precision. And on chips we use alignment targets, just as the article mentions a fixed reference location. This is an easier adaptation of proven technology. Should be possible to get much better than 5 mm precision.

        1. It also happens in more ubiquitous devices. E.g. optical drives. The lanes on a CD/DVD/etc are very very close together, much closer than the relatively big main linear actuator in your drive can handle, so the actual read head is on a flexible (well, 1 DoF, I guess) mount that can be precisely positioned using voice coils. In this picture you can see the coils https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/CD-Rom-Drive%27s_Laser.jpg .

          1. There’s some genius on .io who’s making a scanning microscope, capable of imaging atoms, using a few Bluray drives, and the technology they’re based on. He’s using voice coils for the positioning. The eventual plan is they’ll cost about the same as a 3D printer, as well as being smaller and simpler. Hope it works.

    1. Not seeing anything implausible about this.
      Automating stuff often has payoffs.

      One with this might be designs that are tricky to do by manual bricklaying – fancy curves and patterns become “free” to some extent with this setup.

  1. To be honest I am not excited by this infact it scares me a little, The amount of jobs lost in the building sector will be massive and only really benefit the guys at the top. It is a good job this is no where near ready!

      1. Let’s get rid of shovels and use only teaspoons!

        Oh wait, that’d hurt excavator and shovel makers, and make us unable to compete with everyone else efficiently. Broken Window fallacy much?

        1. nonsense, it would be a boon to the teaspoon industry! if the shovel makers can’t make small food shovels then it’s their own fault for not adapting to the free market.

        1. This is hardly a new phenomena and such displacement has been happening since the industrial revolution started. Some of them will become engineers and scientist. Other’s will take their existing skills and enhance the parts that the machines can’t yet do, becoming artisans in their own right.

          1. No, they won’t become engineers and scientists. Most have average or below average IQ’s and are not suited to such things. Clearly you are a young person and will learn more about the world as you get older.

          2. Mark, jobs are tailored according to human abilities. We already have constant dumbing down of intellectual jobs, and it is most prominent in engineering. The curricula are simplified, total number of courses to graduation is decreased, courses are shortened, “best practices” and recommendations introduced (don’t think, just do as guru’s say), design tools and components to encapsulate tough problems are invented … I’d say that today average IQ is sufficient for successful career in engineering. Even scientific research is almost all transpiration, no inspiration, and researchers are little cogs in team effort wheels. That’s how human society works, almost like a cached memory system – few best pathfinders open new avenues for the masses, in exchange for life necessities and a little extra reward and recognition.

            Besides, when you get a human ability amplifier, like this machine, the outcome isn’t that all the available job is done before time and everyone loses their job. The outcome is that final product (housing) gets cheaper and the demand for it rises accordingly. Back in the old days carpenters didn’t have power tools, electric drills, reciprocating saws, … today they do, but we still have carpenters.

          3. Mark, I used to work in the construction industry. These guys are not stupid. They are not of low intellect or IQ. They have a skill-set and experience that is focused outside of normal academia, but to associate that with idiocy or stupidity is about as inaccurate as associating age with intellect. Oh, wait, you did that as well, didn’t you?

          4. @Scott – I didn’t say they were dumb. I used to work in the construction industry years ago as well. I met some very skilled people of average intelligence, and have met some of below average intelligence that could have easily worked at McDonalds, but their physical attributes allowed them to make more money in construction. Knowledge and intelligence are two different things.

          5. Mark,

            “No, they won’t become engineers and scientists.”
            I didn’t say they all would, only some. History has already shown us over and over again what happens when a new technology displaces old professions: some move into other industries -both more technical and less technical- and some stay in the same industry but become specialists.

            “Most have average or below average IQ’s and are not suited to such things.”
            While the first part of your statement may be true, the statement as a whole is wildly wrong and quite prejudiced.
            1. IQ is not equivalent to vocational aptitude.
            2. IQ is a terrible measure of even intelligence (which is a small part of vocational aptitude).
            3. Even if you don’t accept #1 & #2, the overlap in IQ ranges between construction workers and engineering and science vocations is actually rather large (http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/occupations.aspx).

            “Clearly you are a young person and will learn more about the world as you get older.”
            Clearly you like making assumptions about people you don’t know. I suppose whether I am a young person relative to you depends on your definition of “young person”- I am 44 years old. I do hope to learn more about the world as I get older though- so far I have lived in four countries, had a variety of jobs including construction, and do extremely technical work with world leaders in various technologies.

            I hope that as you get older you realize that stooping to agist insults during an intellectual discussion does you no favors. I also hope that as you grow older you realize how needlessly insulting and prejudiced your statements here appear.

          6. Oh, I’m sorry meico, my mistake, it’s only 82% of the construction industry that has average or below average IQ according the data you have presented.

          7. So, meico- You do understand the Henmon-Nelson IQ value is a heavily truncated version of the full WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale) intelligence quotient test correct? The IQ test values from a Henmon-Nelson test have very large error values (standard deviation of +-30 points), and even a full WAIS IQ test (there are several versions) has an error value of +-15 points.

          8. Actually Mark it looks more like 98.2% of construction workers would have average or below average IQ based on the data meico has presented. If we ignore engineers / architects that design the structures / equipment / special tools.

            If we take the average IQ as 100, and consider the standard deviation of the WAIS-IV as 15 points, then 2/3 of the population has an IQ from 85 to 115 points. They are 2 out 3 people you would meet in a public place like a grocery store or shopping mall. These are the average people.

            We can cloud the issue further by including the standard error of measurement of the WAIS-IV as +-2.8 points, and the correlation coefficient between the Henmon-Nelson test and the WAIS-IV of r=0.76 (generally taken as 0.8).

            So it appears there is very little overlap between construction workers and engineering and science vocations.

        1. The world only needs ditch diggers as long as there aren’t cheaper ditch digging machines. Kind of like how we don’t need scribes any more and get along fine without them. Economies change and adapt.

          1. There is an emerging market for medical scribes- people trained in medical terminology, billing and forms who fill out patient charts and medical paperwork for doctors. However this is a much more complex position than the traditional human-copy-machine scribe.

          2. Some of those ex-ditch diggers can be trained to operate the machines, a small percentage could work in the factory that builds them, and the rest go work in some other manual labor capacity.

        2. @Mark not withstanding the fact that an average IQ is what is carried in the heads of most people. And furthermore remember that IQ is not a result of genetics in a distinguishable way. The biggest determining factor is the health of the person during childhood, any kickers and its a boon.

          A person is not their Job and their profession does not represent at all a persons character, intelligence as much as it would eye color.

          From your comments, suggest that you are older and of more experience. Well from your posts and attitude, I’ll play you game and assume that you aren’t very worldly and tend to act on information that you validate with confirmation bias.

          1. @JbJcJd- You appear to be one of those people whose parents told you “you can be anything you want to be when you grow up”. But intelligent adults know better. You can’t be anything you want in life. You genetics and life choices will determine that. There is little correlation between inherited IQ and IQ in young children, but there is a very strong correlation between bloodline inherited genetic IQ and the IQ of an adult. And as Mark said, Knowledge is not the same thing as intelligence.

          2. @JbJcJd – “an average IQ is what is carried in the heads of most people” – Yes, that’s what make them average. That’s why they are not scientists. IQ is the result of genetics. Now matter how far you get in school, you IQ will not increase. There is an increase in IQ in young children, and then it levels off, and at some old age it starts to drop again.

          3. To Brian, Dave, Mark, the field of research is ongoing and consensus is lacking. On the contribution of IQs heritability it appears 50% plus are estimates and creeping up. However it is noted even similar genetic individuals in similar environments vs quite different environments display higher variations within groups than accross those groups.

            So you can draw the conclusions on that data, but I would say it probably unwise. A strong lead lending towards DNA being a significant factor.

            Specifically, no my parents said do whatever makes you happy. I didn’t take that advise.

            And again with the statements based on nothing, IQ has evidence in heritability but that isn’t a fact yet. Knowledge is a key component in the ability to use IQ, there have been quite a bit of studies in the relevance of knowledge in cognitive ability. I’ll let you guess what these have said in the less abstract cases, when domain related knowledge is at hand or approach strategies?

          4. I’ve read quite a lot not just wikipedia. And my point was not that they IQ isnt hereditary but at what level. I would not discount environmental factors significant contribution to IQ.

            Oh BTW forgot to say, it wasn’t Mark but I do believe an Einstein attributed quote. But Thomas Sowell says it well when talking about the US politico,

            And the quote is : The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Yahoo verified it for me, but you may wish to read it on wikipedia.


          5. As mark said- Knowledge is not intelligence.
            Here’s a quote for you-
            To say a persons bloodline has no bearing on a persons intelligence is like looking at a newborn baby and claiming “this child can grow up to be any race it wants to be”. – Sigmund Freud

      1. What construction jobs run in the winter? When I was a laborer we’d knock off Christmas, and come back the end of March. I worked in the north east too. At some point it just isn’t worth fighting the weather anymore.

        1. i guess it depends on how bad the winters get… where i’m at in the midwest, new houses slow down during the winter, but really only stop for blizzards and extremely low temps(-50 or more)..

      1. This is the thing, technology always takes jobs. Usually though it’s the shitty hard-work unrewarding jobs that nobody really wants to do. None of the people who’ll be put out of work from this will really miss their jobs. Well maybe a bit, the camaraderie and the open air. Maybe in the future they can build things together just for fun.

        It’s not jobs that most people care about, it’s the money. Used to be, if you were a working-class bloke, you didn’t have to be educated or particularly smart. If you were willing and able, you could walk into a job doing something manual, and earn a respectable wage, keep your family well, and be proud of that.

        Now that’s gone. Partly through the utter decimation of workers’ rights, and the death of unions. Perhaps unions took their power a bit far in the 1970s. But killing them totally was opportunistic and not the answer. Now lower-paid lower-skilled workers have to be grateful for their shitty job. People in all jobs find themselves working long overtime, unpaid, because if they complain, as they’ve a moral right to do, they’re out. That’s not fair. And it’s plain to see has led to massive abuse of the workforce.

        As well as unemployment. One guy working 100 hours could be 2 guys working 50.

        The ultimate answer, I think, is to get machines to do almost everything, and we can all lead lives of leisure. That would require prising away some of the precious billions certain individuals have, simply because their skills are in the area of extracting money from people. How many big companies get most of their budget from schmoozing the government with lobbyists and bribes, to make the government spend way more money than it needs to, on things that are deliberately overpriced, and the country doesn’t need? Armaments in particular, all those bullets have to be fired, or nobody will need new ones. We need the latest tech to keep up with the tech the other guys have, because vice-versa.

        The cycle is big corp gives campaign donations to politician. Politician gets into power because of that. Then he pays back his “friends” with way more than they spent, because it’s taxpayers’ money, not his, so hey, fuck it. And it’s not just contracts, companies get laws changed in favour of them, fairness and consumer protection goes out the window. Companies pay off politicians, then rip off the public and get away with it. And we end up with grifters running our countries. Everybody knows this, but it doesn’t stop.

        Butanyway… ideally soon we’ll have control of matter and energy, nanotech and nuclear fusion, soon, and robots can do most of the rest. There’ll still be some jobs, but most people ought to be able to live in the luxury we all deserve. Why let some fucker have a thousand times more money than you? Does he need it? Does he serve humanity a thousand times better than you do? Work a thousand times harder? Rich people are mostly either opportunistic, or lucky. They don’t add enough value to society.

        What I’m saying, is eradicate poverty, give everyone a nice standard of living. Once that’s achieved, if people really want to be rich, they can have the money that’s left over. It’s not right to have obscene wealth and obscene poverty in the same country. Or world.

        1. ” Partly through the utter decimation of workers’ rights, and the death of unions. Perhaps unions took their power a bit far in the 1970s”
          The Unions killed themselves and took a good many companies down the tubes with them.
          I remember when the Unions were trying to come into Piper Aircraft. The workers didn’t want them because Piper paid really well, and good benefits, and even scholarships for the workers kids. A good number of the workers where threatened with violence by the unions.

          The unions didn’t win.
          Not too much later a lot of people did get laid off. It was not because of a union or a lack of a union but because of politics. The administration raised taxes on light aircraft and reduced tax breaks on buying them since only “rich” people bought them. That put a lot of middle class people out of work. Add in the lawyers and the lack of a liability tail on light aircraft and you have a big problem when you can taken to court over a problem with a product you made 60 years ago.

          1. Unions did not kill themselves. The power behind the unions was dismantled in the early 90s. When Giuliani busted the families in NYC the unions went right down the tubes shortly after that. Coincidence? I think not! Heck, I know that was what happened. I was there. My state went from having 40 union halls to 2. Then I got out. Or rather the bottom fell out from under me. I’m still not sure.

            Now before anyone says it is good that corruption was taken out nothing as good came along to replace it. We had a regular pool of workers that knew what they were doing on construction sites. Which is more than I can say about the scabs I’ve worked with. It might not take knowing much to work construction, but it does take some knowledge.

            There are plenty of people that don’t have even that. My business agent knew how to put men on jobs. He’d always send out some experienced guys on every job. No one is doing that now. After the unions were decimated there were all of those building collapses in NYC. Those buildings fell when they were being worked on. Coincidence? I think not!

            What’s some poor slobs getting hit by a ton of bricks? Those poor slobs are you!

        2. Actually no the reason jobs are automated is to increase worker productivity. For example cleaning a storm water drain and culvert might be done by 10 guys jumping in there and getting messy. Where converting the system to a truck using a vacuum system may reduce the labor to two even one if operator safety is quite strong.

          I tend to otherwise agree with your comments regarding to wealth concentration, but your dismissal of them as not adding value, is accessing one person and their entire business holdings and investments as the work of one person.

          Lastly, redistribution of wealth from the haves to have nots, via handout, is a welfare state and only promotes big government. And is a major source of moochers that destroy worker productivity overall, you give someone a cash handout. In return what work is the output for the nation, nothing, that is a welfare state gone wrong.

          That is indeed greece as a prime example, once your big government and moochers hit 50% of the electorate, there goes your functional democracy, Just go ahead and vote yourself bigger gov and more welfare.

          1. Some of those sign holders are really talented too. I saw this one guy throwing this arrow up in the air, and spinning it around. The dude was happening! If I tried to do what they were doing I’d just look like a dork. He was putting on quite a show.

    1. I understand your concern but this is an inevitability. While other comments express that this usually creates other jobs, I don’t believe this is something that will always happen. It’s like people that believe Moore’s law will go on forever, but it quite literally can’t because of physics. Economists are just going to have to brain storm how we function in a society where a small number of people control a very large number of robots and everyone else is essentially retired.

    2. I understand your concern but the progress of tech is inevitable. Other comments give the claim that new tech usually creates new jobs like the industrial revolution. However I don’t believe that will always be true. People also think Moore’s Law will always be true as well but eventually there comes a limit because of physics. Economists are just going to have to brainstorm how we can function with a small number of people controlling a lot of robots and a large number of people essentially retired.

      1. My suggestion would Cap on working hours relative to wages – your reward for rising up the job ladder becomes working less for the same $, not more $ for the same time.
        This way theres still a reward incentive and a “job ladder”, but the higher paying the job the more people its spread between.

        So when a robot replaces a job effectively everyone elses just does less hours – rather then the person at the top pocketing the difference. Or if the CEO did pocket the difference they would need to work less hours – opening up a second CEO position, etc.

        Of course, thats a idealized scenario taken to extremes. There would be plenty of exceptions and it would need to be based on available workers too. (No dought some bank CEOs will be crying murder that there isn’t a 100 times more people that could do their jobs….)

        Still, finding a way to spread workload out more as it reduces I think is the key.

    3. Aliens watching us are all like;

      “wait…they REDUCE the amount of work and yet somehow that makes their situation worse? What messed up social system are those humans using?”

  2. I’m not buying this. I’ve been on enough building sites (having spent 20 years in the trades) to know that booms bounce around all over the place, and are certainly not precise enough to be used in this fashion.

    I could be mistaken, but I just don’t believe it.

          1. It’s heavy construction equipment doing something very delicate. Presumably with a man at the ordinary controls, no electronic feedback loops, just the eye-hand one. That guy and his tool could lay bricks.

            Mark, the video is embedded in the post, no link needed. Check your browser.

      1. That’s nothing. At only a 30 foot reach you can do some pretty impressive things with hydraulic equipment. I can pick up a dime with a forklift for example.
        But when you get to the 50 foot or more reach required for the project described, that is when things get so jittery you will end up with a brick wall that looks like it was built by epileptics.

          1. It’s actually a trick a buddy of mine showed me how to do. You place the dime on the ground, and then tilt the forks down so the tip of one fork is covering half of the dime. Gently lower the forks until a small amount of downward pressure is put on the dime. Then very slowly back up. As the tip of the fork slides across the dime, it gets to the edge of the dime and the dime will flip up in the air back toward the forklift and land on the fork. And there you have it.
            This takes a forklift with very “loose” (insensitive) proportioning valves on the fork controls. I used an old Toyota propane powered lift to do it. I have tried it with an electric forklift, but it was too jerky and did not have enough fine control, and then dime would go flying away from the lift every time.

      1. It’s simply a matter of some sensors and feedback. Electronic actuators can move very fast and accurately. It’s a pretty much solved problem, maybe requiring a bit of application.

    1. I agree. I have operated cement pumpers for several years now with 100 foot booms and they bounce all over. Add to that the inertia of the bricks being moved by the “print head” and you will never get this to work without human assistance.
      A team of masons would get the work done far faster anyway.

      1. And who the hell would build an entire structure out of brick nowadays? You still need beams over the doors / windows for load dispersion.
        If it placed cinder block that would be something. Or placed and filled concrete wall forms..

        1. One of my favorite MST3k moments was a scene in the lower levels of a space ship. The hero was chasing the villian down an alley. The alley had a brick wall. Who would build a brick wall for a space ship? Especially in one of the lower “maintenance” levels where it wouldn’t be appreciated? I was also surprised that Crow, gumball machine, and Mike didn’t mention it in their cat calls.

          1. Who would do that? J.J. Abrams, that’s who. The “engineering” scenes in his 2009 Star Trek movie were filmed in a brewery. Look close and you can see the woodgrain in the concrete left by the form boards.

        2. plenty of houses build out of brick and it is hardly a big technical challenge to get the guy keeping an eye on the machine to put a beam in when the machine gets to a window or door.

          1. In my part of the US no new houses are completely built of brick. They use brick fascia over conventional stick frame, or brick fascia over cinder block or poured concrete.

      2. While I agree it certainly seems like a serious problem, it reminds me of a story I heard about naval gunnery (possibly true, possible not). There were two schools of thought. School A thought it would be better to aim the gun in a fixed way, and wait for the waves to move the ship and fire at the exact moment. School B thought it would be better to continually adjust the gun to always aim at the target.

        The people of School A thought that School B was crazy. These are super heavy guns that are difficult to move. So they setup a test. In their test, they proved conclusively that you couldn’t move a naval artillery gun to follow such a trajectory continuously. I constantly would overshoot, undershoot, etc, as the target moved relative to the gun.

        School A was wrong, School B was right. School A did they testing on land with a moving target. School B did they testing on the water with a moving ship and fixed target. Turned out that if you keep the gun on the target, it hardly moves, the ship just moves around it.

        I think such a print head could perform a similar function. Sure the boom bounces around. But the print head can be kept still.

    2. OLD booms bounce around, yes… ones that haven’t been maintained properly or have rounded out the holes in the hydraulic pins/joints and the hydraulic control manifolds. Grease is your friend! We had two JCB’s…. one of them you really could do precision work with – on the millimeter scale, the other, older one, had so much slop, it probably should have been decommissioned as a safety hazard. We’re talking maybe a foot at full extension. I hated that one. But it had a better hydraulic pump on it relative to its size, able to do heavier work, which is sometimes necessary.

          1. Thats not such a bad idea.

            Especially if you have holes in the nubs to allow fluid flow through the bricks then use perhaps a foam (beanbag bead) impregnated epoxy to flood-fill the voids.

            It would be Strong, Light Weight, Insulating and could be installed easily and in little time without breaking the backs of the brickies.

            You could also use a similar interlocking system with ceramic bricks and flood-fill with a mortar slurry then finish it off with a cosmetic mortar fill to make it look like a regular brick wall

          2. Or have fill holes at the top of the bricks that you fill with a thin masonary joint compound and rely on capillary flow to get the joint compound between the joints.

          3. I’ve seen one method where interlocking polystyrene is used to build the frame, then concrete poured in, gave a very strong, insulated house, with a fast build time..

    1. I think the actuator on the bricklaying end is supposed to do that. Since it’s a computer mockup, they’ll probably add that to the real one. They probably thought of that themselves.

  3. I thought there was a limit to the number of rows of bricks you should stack in a day because the weight of the bricks squishes out the mortar in the lower layers before it has time to set. Is there some superfast mortar equivalent that could remove this barrier?

    1. I suppose you could use little spacers, made of metal or plastic, to keep the bricks apart while the mortar sets. Have them between the bricks, in the mortar itself, doesn’t matter if they stay there forever. This would be part of the process of designing the machine. Or you could make bricks with the spacers built in, made of the same clay, just a brick with a couple of lumps on top.

    2. You’re right on both accounts. You can only run so many courses of masonry up before you have to let the mortar set. There is fast setting mortars too. Though no one on a brick job would want to use it. I was on a job and we had to patch a pipe hole and they came out with this bag of mortar called “Octocrete” On the bag it claimed to be 8 times stronger than regular mortar, and it setup 8 times as fast too. Yeah, sure, right. Well I mixed some up in a bucket, and sure enough the stuff setup about as fast as I could mix it! So the foreman came over, and he was like let me do it. He had no better luck. We finally ended up mixing the stuff in the hole we were patching. I don’t know if it really was 8 times stronger, but I’d vouch for the 8 times faster part. You’d have to be Flash Gorden to mix that stuff up and apply it before it setup. It was like trying to work with gag construction materials.

  4. It’s very funny (the ideia) but… putting bricks above each other doesn’t make it a house. You need concrete, you need steel inside the bricks to get a more strengh building.. And what about foundations and pillars?

    I certanly would prefer a machine that make a closed cube with only the above face open to inject concrete, like they do it now a days with planks by hand… you just need to put in some random steel in there while injecting concrete and i bet you got a much stronger wall…

    1. I see a lot of modern (1-3 stories) construction done with aerated concrete blocks for walls, and aerated concrete slabs for ceilings. The concrete blocks are then covered with rockwool insulation, followed by a facade of brick. No steel, no internal pillars or columns. Most of the work could be done by a robot, I think.

      Higher buildings are made in a similar way, but usually with poured solid concrete walls instead of the blocks.

      1. I’ve seen on TV, you can get kit houses, the Germans make some. A team of builders puts it together in a day, with another day for finishing off. It’s a set of beams and panels, a lot of glass, a big, airy, two-floor house. It is kindof silly to use little clay blocks to build big buildings. We did it centuries ago cos there was nothing better, and I suppose they were easy to lay by hand.

        We don’t build skyscrapers or arenas out of bricks. Big commercial and industrial buildings are made of beams and sheet metal. They look bloody ugly, but a whole neighbourhood of them, people might get used to, especially if the price is right.

  5. Cool idea, but,
    in Australia most houses are brick-veneer. So we stand the timber frame, put the whole roof on ,then the brickie comes in.

    This machine has a rather wide “print head” so can it lay bricks within 50mm of a stud wall and under the eave?

    1. Yep, that’s how it is done in the US too. Thin brick veneer or full brick fascia over stick frame, or “cinder block” or poured concrete. Full thickness brick is only used for decorative items. It is too slow, expensive, and weak to be used in parts of the US.

  6. I am in a cyclonic region. There are no brick-veneer homes here … anymore! It’s all Besser block here. Those little bricks are useless here, they just get blown away by cyclones.

    I also saw other materials in links on this page and none of then would withstand a cyclone.

  7. Sorry, I fail to see the great invention behind this…
    “Some sort of arm stacks bricks and is controlled by a guidance-system of some sort.”
    At the rate shown in the video, most human professionals would outrun this thing while making sure the thing is really up to human standards. Someone would still have to refill bricks, check the results and so on. That leaves you with safety issues, because human control would occupy the same space as the robot. Not possible where safety is priority.

    Design-wise: Make it a gantry and you will reduce your positioning-problems by several factors, enabling heavy loads and fast movements with high inertia. Also your whole brick-delivery would be contained inside that gantry, no problems with rain blurring your vision, etc.

  8. I have seen this beast up close several years ago, having worked with the designers on another project for a company I was working at as an engineer.

    It’s real and has solved all the problems people have raised in the comments.

    This machine overcomes the industry labour issues common in Australia.

    1. “…industry labour issues common in Australia.”
      You mean having already too few people to do all the highly qualified jobs, so a crazy ass robot is still cheaper than a bricklayer that earns more than a dentist in most parts of the world but can only work at night or 4 hours per day due to health-concerns? :D

  9. Is there any reason to call this a printer, and not a robotic bricklayer?

    OK, I jest. We all know the old joke – a project must have a 3D printer or Arduino to qualify for Hackaday ;-p

    At least my unionized hod carrier job (ask your grandpa what a hod is, kids) is secure. Someone’s still got to carry the bricks over to where the *ahem* “print head” can pick them up!

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