Rock Print is a Zero Waste 3D Printed Structure (Made With Rocks)

Rock Print

3D printed wall “Rock Print” is 100% reusable, stable and…built from rocks and string. This could be a great alternative to concrete. 

A collaboration between MIT’s Self Assembly Lab and the Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich has yielded one of the most environmentally friendly creations yet. Using only string and rocks, the team 3D printed a rock wall.

The unbelievable feat was achieved using a method called “jamming.” By packing loose materials together very tightly, they create a solid entity. The resulting piece acts almost exactly like a single heavy-load bearing structure, that can be used in place of concrete or other heavy-duty materials.

Of course, the Rock Print doesn’t just have the “cool” factor down, its high environmentally friendliness makes it rival traditional concrete. The print itself creates no waste and, when it is no longer needed, can simply be dismantled and used again. Structures can be reassembled and redesigned without leaving a trail of forgotten materials behind. Rock and string are also far easier to procure locally than a full slab of concrete. This can mean major changes in the future of architecture.

Art? Architectur? Science? ...Rocks? (image: Gramazio Kohler Research)
Art? Architectur? Science? …Rocks. (image: Gramazio Kohler Research)

Matthias Kohler from ETH makes it clear that 3D printing is not only integral to their Rock Print, but will play a vital role in the future of architecture.

“3D printing technology is an inspiration for the future of architecture as it brings together resource efficient additive building principles with new possibilities for design.”

The print pictured above stands over 13ft high, weighs slightly less than one ton and can be found at the Chicago Architecture Biennial until January 3rd, 2016. According to the team, this is only the beginning of the research.

The search for a long-lasting concrete alternatives is not yet over.

(Via: ETH Zürich)