Using clay for construction with a team of small cooperative robots
Architectural Association, 2016-2017 

This research proposes a layer-by-layer additive manufacturing (AM) multi-robotic construction method which uses clay as the main building material. The proposed method uses the granular support material as a ramp through which the robots can access the top layer of the printed structure in order to print over it the subsequent layer. Although large amounts of sup- port material are required for this method, once the printed structure has cured the supports are removed and reused for other structures, therefore generating no material waste. This method makes it possible to build large clay structures with a team of relatively small cooperative mobile robots. The proposed robotic units are designed from a synthesis of off-the-shelf devices which are currently widely available.


In addition, each unit is allocated with a specific task in order for them to be kept as simple as possible. As a part of the design proposal, a possible site was defined in a context in which clay is currently being used as the main building material, but the construction process and spatial qualities can be improved through automation. The intention is to propose a comprehensive settlement design which enables the possibility of constant growth.  A clustering strategy is introduced and the cluster development strategy is subdivided into a set of steps which aims to provide a pedestrian network and semi-public spaces. 


Project Team:  Katya Bryskina, José M. Cherem ( EmTech, Architectural Association, 2016-2017 ) 





The aim of the experiments was to test the proposed primary deposition strategy in parallel with the support material performance and secondary deposition in order to extract data related to material performance and device calibration. An industrial KUKA KR-30 6-axis robotic arm equipped with a

pneumatic clay extruding end-effector is used to perform the deposition. In addition, the goal of the experiment was to test the secondary deposition method in combination with the proposed computer  vision approach.  Two previously  printed

elements, a dome and a column, were placed on the printing bed and their corresponding support heaps were formed manually in between them. After this, the heap was scanned with infrared sensor Kinect and the tool paths for the multi-layer envelope were generated. 

Project Team:  Katya Bryskina, José M. Cherem ( EmTech, Architectural Association, 2016-2017 )