Millebot – 3D Printer inside a Shipping Container
Millebot, a construction startup company, introduced Mile, an industrial sized 3D printer and mill house inside a shipping container, in October of 2016 at Maker Faire Orlando. This massive machine can be used for multiple different things according to the company like disaster relief, aerospace, and of course, in the construction industry.
Marcos Cruz, a mechanical designer at Millebot Inc said on the company’s website that “a machine designed to create art must be art itself.”
According to Millebot the company responsible for the Millie 3D printer, this new mill hybrid will offer many advantages in addition to already creating long, strong, and dependable structures in a fraction of the time it would normally take to construct.
3D printing in the construction industry is becoming increasingly popular over the past few years, with a wider range of printable materials, it’s easier than previously thought of before to fabricate enormous structures. The problem most people end up facing with 3D printing is transporting these huge machines to and from the building site. By putting the 3D printer inside a shipping container, Millebot has essentially eliminated this problem making it easy and painless to transport the 3D printer.
Millebot is designed specifically to be servo controlled with the capabilities to mount the entire gantry to a single wall in the shipping container. This reduces the recalibration required after moving the machine.
The Millebot spits out a paste like material that’s made of a mix of locally sourced materials and a proprietary binding agent. The paste is then hardened at around 200 degrees and then milled. This gives the opportunity to refine the design and create more precise parts as the paste doesn’t offer a high resolution print as it comes out.
The clay like material was developed by Millebot and Dr. John Pojman, the president of Pojman Polymer Products and polymer expert. The clay was designed to be self-curing and hardens on demand which other materials like sand mixtures or recycled glass can’t do. Millebot can create structures that are said to be 3-5 times harder than cement or red brick and complete it faster than traditional methods.