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malbert

Dry-stone walls built using a computer?

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I'd be interested to hear what people think about the idea of having structures built from natural rock rubble where several rocks first pass through some sort of 3D scanner then a computer starts fitting them together in the virtual world. When the computer finds a rock that's a good fit in an available space it outputs instructions to the builder as to the position and orientation of the rock.

I am developing this idea as a patentable invention but I'm self-funded and so trying to do stuff on the cheap. That's why I'm trying a forum on Building and Architecture rather than paying a marketting company....I hope no one minds. If you'd like to know more about how far I've got with developing the idea have a look at my web site, www.rocksolver.com

Although I haven't done the research, I think that building with natural rock rubble would be competitive with modern masonry techniques using brick or concrete because unprocessed rock is so cheap. It's cheap because it can be sourced just about everywhere so the energy input into transport is low and it's not cut or ground to powder or fired in a kiln so the energy input into production is low. Lower energy input also means lower greenhouse gas emission. Rock can also be a very durable building material so the energy input during construction divided by the lifetime of the building is lower. Rock is cheap because lots of it can be extracted from relatively small areas which already have low economic (and cultural) value. Rock looks good too! I suppose it's not competitive now because of the high cost of labour.

What do you think?

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I think your two problems is that you would have to scan a lot of the rock and build a wall on the computer for this invention to be useful, and then have a way to identify which rock goes where.

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Scanning all of the big rocks sounds like a job in itself. That's a good idea though. It also reduces waste, because you'll be able to save the odd rocks and wait untill the computer says it fits somewhere.

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Thanks m. and j.

Identifying and storing scanned rocks could be a problem for some sites. If a long section of wall is being built then there will be thousands of possible locations/orientations for each newly scanned rock so maybe almost every rock will be placed in the wall immediately after scanning...if the computer is fast enough and if my guess is right. Another possibility is to have thousands of scanned and identified rocks at a central quarry then the computers at nearby sites would request certain rocks be sent from the quarry to the site.

Big rocks are used in road/rail construction, land stabilisation, sea walls, etc. If the big rocks are sitting on flat ground then they could be scanned using a 3D laser scanner mounted in 3 different places, the rock's bottom surfaces assumed to be flat. Aquisition of 3D data from digital photography is also a possibility.

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Wow! I've had this idea for years, but in the context of rebuilding archeological sites. Scan the rubble, number each piece, and then let the computer tell you how to assemble the structure. Wonder if this would work for the Bamiyan Buddhas?

I'd be interested to hear what people think about the idea of having structures built from natural rock rubble where several rocks first pass through some sort of 3D scanner then a computer starts fitting them together in the virtual world. When the computer finds a rock that's a good fit in an available space it outputs instructions to the builder as to the position and orientation of the rock.

I am developing this idea as a patentable invention but I'm self-funded and so trying to do stuff on the cheap. That's why I'm trying a forum on Building and Architecture rather than paying a marketting company....I hope no one minds. If you'd like to know more about how far I've got with developing the idea have a look at my web site, www.rocksolver.com

Although I haven't done the research, I think that building with natural rock rubble would be competitive with modern masonry techniques using brick or concrete because unprocessed rock is so cheap. It's cheap because it can be sourced just about everywhere so the energy input into transport is low and it's not cut or ground to powder or fired in a kiln so the energy input into production is low. Lower energy input also means lower greenhouse gas emission. Rock can also be a very durable building material so the energy input during construction divided by the lifetime of the building is lower. Rock is cheap because lots of it can be extracted from relatively small areas which already have low economic (and cultural) value. Rock looks good too! I suppose it's not competitive now because of the high cost of labour.

What do you think?

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