Minibuilders | Saša Jokić | Petr Novikov | Via
Developed at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Minibuilders is a research project comprised of a family of small-scale construction robots capable of constructing objects far larger than the robot itself. Each of the robots is designed to perform a diverse task, linked to the different phases of construction, finally working together as a family towards the implementation of a single structural outcome.
The first robot, the Base Robot, lays down the first ten layers of material to create a foundation footprint. Sensors mounted inside the robot control direction, following a predefined path. Traveling in a circular path allows for a vertical actuator incrementally adjust the nozzle height for a smooth, continuous, spiraling layer. To create the main shell of the final structure the second robot, the Grip Robot, attaches to the foundation footprint. Its four rollers clamp on to the upper edge of the structure allowing it to move along the previously printed material, depositing more layers. Controlled by custom software the robot follows a predefined path, but can also adjust its path to correct errors within the printing process. Rotational actuators control height above the previous layer to maintain a consistent layer.
The data derived from the structural analysis is then translated into paths for the third and final robot, the Vacuum Robot. Using a vacuum generator this robot attaches to the surface of the previously printed structure. Moving freely over the first shell on its tracks, depositing material on the surface of the shell, enhancing its structural properties. This task can be performed by one robot, or a swarm of robots working in co-ordination.