Brick-Laying Machine Builds Without Mortar

Move over, 3D printed houses. There’s a new game in town, and it is able to use standard concrete blocks to build the walls of a house in just one day.

Australian company FBR’s Hadrian X is a tablet-controlled system that follows CAD models to lay the blocks one by one. As you can see in the video after the break, the blocks are laid so quickly that there’s no time for mortar, so they dip the bottom of each block in construction adhesive instead. In the second video after the break, you can watch Hadrian-X build a curved wall.

There are several things to consider when it comes to outdoor robots, such as wind and unwanted vibration. In order to correct for these nuisances, FBR came up with Dynamic Stabilisation Technology (DST). While we don’t have a lot of details on DST, the company calls it “a highly accurate system that continuously adjusts the position of a robot’s end effector to ensure it is always held with stability at the correct point in 3D space.”

Curious about printed housing? Here’s the current-ish state of affairs.

45 thoughts on “Brick-Laying Machine Builds Without Mortar

    1. Or a stiff breeze. I’d say “use interlocking bricks instead” but then it would just be too damn complicated for the poor dumb robots to assemble. Placing regular pricks in the right spot is about the limit of what our 1980’s robotic assembly technology can do.

          1. > Ya do know that is only good in compression, right?
            I do know that. Thankfully, gravity compresses most things, and we don’t use bricks to cover ceilings.

        1. One of my concerns is that adhesives can break down over long periods of time. I like this technique if rebar and mortar are placed in the voids. Additionally, if the blocks interlock then there is even more integrity.

      1. But but but….

        From the manufacturer in the comments: “However, if you use torch to burn it, it just likes all organic polymers, they have relatively high flammability.”

        HAD armchair experts win again!

        1. pure polyurea is flammable sure.
          You worried about your bricks burning?
          Use a polyurea thats been doped with flame retarding additives.
          They exist. Not sure why youre worried about people taking torches to your walls. Is that a problem for stick built homes covered in vinyl siding? Did you know those materials not only burn when the torch is applied, but continue to burn after its removed?

        1. Are you implying the giant blocks forming a pseudomountain with a”living space” the size of a NYC studio to be a superior building system? That seems a bit impractical.
          Sealing a stacked block wall with a durable polymer membrane that can last 3 decades before it requires touchup, makes far more sense. Its certainly easier and cheaper maintenance than repointing exposed mortar laid brick every 25-40 years.

  1. When building houses, the time consuming and hard parts are not putting up the walls. Leveling and preparing the ground etc. is where you spend most of the time. And after the wall is built you spend a lot of time on the details and finish. It seem they are trying to solve the wrong problem

      1. Solved in the USA, decades ago.

        Stick build everything and glue on a ‘brick’ layer about 1/4 inch thick.

        Even chiminea’s. Aluminized duct inside as flue.

        BTW never buy a house in the USA built in the last 40 years. You don’t want to know how they do stucco. Let’s just say: ‘The windows are no longer week points.’

  2. Oy, in the 1st video they stopped right where the window/door frame should be completed. With the current shown tech there is no way to do it. They are keeping it secret or just don’t know how to do it?

  3. Know anything at all about laying brick/block (and stone)?
    There are very good reasons for mortar being applied all ’round (was going to say, “to all four sides”, and then remembered about laying stone). And…adhesive⁈ Applied to the bottom, ONLY‽‽
    Pass. As will all contractors. As will any and all knowledgeable potential customers.

    1. Know anything at all about the history of mortarless construction?
      There are very good reasons that Cusco and Machu Pichu are still standing despite or rather DUE TO their COMPLETE LACK OF MORTAR on “all six sides”
      Hundreds of years STANDING in an earthquake zone.
      Im not saying THIS COMPANIES demo is without issue. But I wouldnt dismiss mortarless construction and neither would the housing and construction industries.. The acceptance and adoption of modern mortarless CSEB has been growing globally since the 70s/80s and will continue to in the future.

  4. The brick walls are less than 1% of the building process, you have to put in pipes for water, electricity, boxes for electricity outlets switches etc.. You have to cover the wall, inside and outside, you have to put insulators on the wall for better heat preserving (less heating, cooling). put in the windows, doors..

    And you did not make any foundation, basement, floors or roof.

  5. Avoid building with Block. When it starts to crack, its going to be too expensive of a fix. I have a 80 year old block house on my property thats 24×30. The footer on one side cracked and started settling and cause a crack up the wall. The way the walls interlock or how the block link together it makes repairs almost impossible unless you sink a ton of money into it. Build a foundation with block is ok. But build with lumber cause lumber can be easier to fix.

    This house has nothing but cracks all the way around it and is unsafe to live in, and in fact I dont live in it, I ended up building a small 12×16 tiny house while I determine what to do with it. I wanted to tear it down to about 3-4 block high and build on top of it but may end up choosing a different build site on my property. But save you some future stress and avoid building with block

        1. Foundation repair is possible.

          He can either jack up or mud pump under the foundation (or not).
          The structure above it realigns (or not).
          Tear down is cheaper for stick built.
          I suppose stick also gives options about jacking the whole house up and building a new foundation. But that rarely makes sense.

          24×30 = 720 square feet.
          If meters than huge house, but I read that as ’80 year old block shack’.

  6. So what happens when they find that the adhesive is a biological resource for mutagenic moulds and other environmental pathogens.

    The way we build homes is already toxic and now potentially new toxins and more people dying from – “it’s has something to do with the house but we don’t know what”.

    It’s great that technology is helping the building and construction industries but we have completely lost focus on the fact that these structures are for humans to spend long periods of time inside of.

    Clearly the advertising for asbestos building materials was highly effective. We now have the third wave of deaths from home handymen or renovators after the original miners/manufacturers and then original builders.

    The PDS and MDS never show how the products interact with environmental toxins or toxin producing microbial elements – so basically most building materials are safe to use in space but not shown to be save for use on this planet.

    Would you like a cigarette? Did you know that cancer causing (carcinogenic) tobacco was proven to be good for your health.

    I know it’s an ad, and for the sake of brevity … they left out the absolutely most critical fact.

  7. 1st, these are CMU Concrete Masonry Units.
    These blocks are designed to have mortar between them to lay at 8” X 16”.
    This method would certainly require core fill grout and rebar.
    The robots are totally impractical under normal building circumstances, as my company uses robots that are similar to bring in the young lazy new generation to masonry… Great idea, needs tons of refinement to make them a practical useful tool on construction sites…

  8. If they were going to have vertical rebar in them the bars would be showing as they place the blocks on the bars as it is almost impossible to drop bars in from the top of a completed wall. Grouting them solid w/o bars may be the plan but w/o the vertical grout or glue in this case the concrete will just pour out of the un glued vertical joints as the cells of the block fill. Maybe a skim coat of plaster on the outside of the blocks may work but the hydraulic pressure of a full height wall being filled may burst the skim coat.

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