Instead of having several countractors work on seastead, wouldn’t it make more sense to use a 3-d printer to manufacture the entire structure? 3-d printers have been used to print polymer materials already, many of which offer protection from sea-water corrosion. I know building a large-scale printer is a challenge because a specific temperature range is needed for operation (at least for the process involving polymers).
Of course polymers aren’t the only materials to use. Large scale 3-d printers are more feasible for concrete (already being considered for residential construction). An earlier post mentions using foam and concrete to make a seastead.
Does anyone know of any other possible barriers to large scale 3-d printing besides heat?
I think printing something the size of an oil rig in one piece is going to be too much to ask for, especially when you consider maintenance issues, if something breaks down, you want to replace only the broken part, not print another complete replacement “oilrig”.
3D printing is important to seasteading as it would allow us to print parts on demand rather than having to keep parts in our stores just in case something breaks down, the open source RepRap community is working hard to develop the technology, and we could help by experimenting with plastic collected from the gyres to create recycled plastic for printing with.
The most obvious problem that needs to be dealt with or planned for is that plastic breaks down with exposure to ultra violet light, some chemical added to the plastic might slow down that process, but not being a chemical engineer, I do not know what additive is needed or even possible.
The RepRap can only make components that fit within its build table, I imagine something like a spider that can travel to its work area and lay down as much plastic as is needed to effect the repair, it should be able to build the parts needed to assemble new single family seasteads for occupation by newly independant children of the family, as their first home.
Maybe one or two seasteaders could have expensive, professional 3D printers to supply the whole community with parts, but this impacts the independence of individual seasteaders.
I worry about people being trapped on an abusive seastead where they are effectively prisoners with no way of getting help, and I would like to see seasteads grow as clusters of single family seasteads, so if things get rough in one place, they can drop their moorings and sail off to another cluster.
An alternative to concrete that could be experimented with is of course, seacrete.
There are plenty of groups experimenting with large-scale concrete 3D printing, for applications in the housing industry. This is both high-throughput printing of modules and components that are assembled on-site, all the way up to large-scale printing of entire structures.