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Geometric earth blocks made with 3D printed moulds

Students at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico developed a way to make earthen building blocks in various geometric shapes using 3D printed moulds.

Called Terrablocks, the earthen blocks have varying geometries and textures, unlike traditional adobes, which are generally rectangular. To make them, first the shape was designed and 3D printed with PLA. Then, a negative silicone mould was made, which makes removal of the block easier. The blocks are made of a mix of earth and natural fibres.

The team was divided into three groups. The first team focused on the design of the blocks, giving them the most optimal curvatures and slopes, to make the most out of the 3D printing process and push the geometry to the limit. The second group was in charge of developing the material. They tested more than ten different types of earth mixed with aggregates. The development team, finally, explored different mould manufacturing strategies, and choose the most efficient construction process.

Photos: Universidad Iberoamericana