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Chattanooga Start-Up Wants to 3D Print Your Next House

January 20, 2016

Picture a tiny bridge made of interconnected plastic pyramids that weighs a mere 2 ounces.

Now picture a 160-pound man standing on it while it supports his weight.

That real-life experiment helped convince Platt Boyd to quit his high-paying job as a partner at an architectural firm in Montgomery, Alabama, move to Chattanooga, and launch Branch Technology, a startup business built around the world’s largest free-form, 3-D printer.

“To leave a good job and go do something crazy was a big deal,” says Boyd, a married father of four.

But Boyd is convinced he’s on to something big. And if he’s right, it could change the shape of ordinary, everyday architecture — literally.

Instead of boxy buildings “stick built” from 2-by-4s and sheets of plywood, Boyd believes his technology could let more architects design free-form structures with curves, rounded corners and swooping roofs — a style synonymous with architect Frank Gehry.

“The advantage is not the straight wall,” says Boyd; stick-built wins there. “The advantage of a technology like this is you can do crazy shapes.”

He envisions a day when architects will send their plans to Branch Technology, which would use 3-D printing to build lightweight frames of interconnected plastic and carbon fiber pyramids. The frames would be assembled at the building site and then filled with foam or concrete and covered with stucco or some other finish to make walls and other architectural features.

Visit TimesFreePress.com for the rest of the story including details on a contest in which Branch Technology will award a $10,000 prize to the person who comes up with the best design for a house to be built with 3-D printing.

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