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3D Printed Greenhouse

What is 3D printing?

Technological advances have made various amazing activities possible. One of these activities is 3D printing. This is a process through which solid materials are made from a digital file. Also known as additive manufacturing, this is a process whereby successive layers of material are added upon each other to construct a solid object according to a digital design. Each layer that is added upon another can be seen as a thin cross-section area of the whole. 3D printing technology is very popular today. However, it has been around for a while. It was innovated in 1986 and has been used in architecture, engineering and manufacturing industries since then. It is only until recent times that the 3D printing concept and technology has become available to the public. Today, one can purchase a 3D printer and begin printing out objects. One amazing object made using this technology is a 3D printed greenhouse. Read more to find out about this iconic piece of architecture.

Features of the 3D printed greenhouse

Jenny Sabin, an artist, architect and designer has constructed a 3D printed greenhouse. Also known as 'The Cabinet of Future Fossils', this greenhouse is the first of its kind. It is located in the garden of the American Philosophical Society (APS). Jenny constructed this 52-foot-long greenhouse using recycled and recyclable materials, a 3D printer and digital design software. She did not use a single ounce of glass to build it. Moreover, she didn’t use any form of heat to join up the 3D printed parts. She was inspired by the forms and shapes that are naturally found in nature. Her project was sponsored by the Heritage Philadelphia Program under the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. All the 3D parts were printed by ZCorp Company.

The greenhouse manages to stay upright due to structural ribs that are curved to support its weight. These ribs are able to support 110 jewel toned mini greenhouses. Each one measures 2 x 1 x 1 feet. They are translucent, portable and easy to remove and place back into the ultra-modern greenhouse. These mini greenhouses are perfect for gardening in urban areas during the winter season. Jenny’s greenhouse is a modern marvel. After observing it for some time, one may wonder how the process of 3D printing works.

How it works

The process of 3D printing begins with a digital design of the object that one wants to print. This design is made using a type of software known as 3D modeling software. The design is referred to as a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file. After the design is created, it is sliced up into thousands of horizontal slices. These slices are then sent or uploaded into a 3D printer. This printer then prints each one of these layers one after the other to create the complete object. As it does this, one can hardly see the boundaries of each of these layers in the final object. There are many methods through which the 3D printer is able to accomplish this. One of the methods it uses is known as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and the other is known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). 3D printing is an effective way of turning design concepts into real, material objects.


Image source: suckerpunchdaily

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