Contour Crafting (CC) is a layered fabrication technology developed by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.
The potential applications of this technology are far reaching including but our research also addresses the application of Contour Crafting in building habitats on other planets. Contour Crafting will most probably be one of the very few feasible approaches for building structures on other planets, such as the Moon and Mars, which are being targeted for human colonization before the end of the new century not limited to applications in emergency, low-income, and commercial housing.
HOW IT WORKS
In Contour crafting, computer control is used to take advantage of the superior surface forming capability of troweling to create smooth and accurate, planar and free-form surfaces. The layering approach enables the creation of various surface shapes using fewer different troweling tools than in traditional plaster handwork and sculpting. It is a hybrid method that combines an extrusion process for forming the object surfaces and a filling process (pouring or injection) to build the object core.
As shown in the figure, the extrusion nozzle has a top and a side trowel. As the material is extruded, the traversal of the trowels creates smooth outer and top surfaces on the layer. The side trowel can be deflected to create non-orthogonal surfaces. The extrusion process builds only the outside edges (rims) of each layer of the object. After complete extrusion of each closed section of a given layer, if needed filler material such as concrete can be poured to fill the area defined by the extruded rims.
For more information about Contour Crafting and its application, please visit www.contourcrafting.org