No Sweat: NU Student Partners All Smiles as 3D Printing Challenge Nears

With just four weeks until their live display at The Realities of 3D Printing, it would be fair to imagine our BuiltWorldsNU team, including six students with Northwestern University’s Robert R. McCormick’s School of Engineering in Evanston, IL, may be feeling the pressure. Their mission: to successfully complete an additive manufacturing process for concrete delivery. With some of their recent experiments having yielded inconclusive results, you would think team members are cued to the relentless ticking of the clock as their big show-and-tell draws nearer. Think again. When we caught up with our team, it was all smiles.

Among the tasks at hand, testing water flow in an extruder (seen here), taking a trip (another) to Home Depot, and having blast doing all of it, as the photos they provided us amply demonstrate. To chart their progress – and ingenuity – our team members provided us all manner and form of demonstration videos and action pics, in addition to a full status report and a video montage set to music. But wait, there’s more! They’ve even launched a dedicated twitter account! After we visited the lab of our favorite Wildcats in Evanston with our last update, now they bring their lab to you:

For greater insight into the project, download their full status report below the diary entry.

Oh…hello there,

College is the time to experiment

Can you believe it’s already week eight? It feels like just yesterday we were assembling the second prototype of our concrete delivery system. And it feels like just last Friday BuiltWorlds paid us a visit to film us in action. They put together a video that makes all of us look prettier than we do in person (as seen below). We were able to show Eliot, Jed, Todd, and Ryan around the Rapid Prototyping Lab/our home and the Ford Machine Shop/our home away from home. We keep an extra toothbrush in the bathroom.


Even Rocky had a montage

Over the weekend, we tested our prototype with a sand-water mixture and dry sand (seen right). We recognized the need for a more concrete-like material, so Connie and Tim sprung into action and ordered ShapeCrete (shape-able concrete) and reinforcement fiber (for strength and stability). As mentioned before, it was just yesterday that we began the assembly of our next prototype. We have blocked off our entire Saturday to test the new prototype, but it’s ok because we love each other. Right, guys? Right? No one is responding. Well, that’s all for this week!



Download the full BuiltWorldsNU weekly status report here.

To contact the author, write to or find him on Twitter @toddstolarski