Tiger Stone: The Road Printer

The evolution of innovative printing techniques in the three-dimensional world goes on. Before we reported about the amazing rapid prototyping revolution, about printers that are able to print complete buildings and about the inkjet printer for streets. Now there is also the road printer. The Tiger Stone brick printer makes road construction as easy as laying laminate flooring. BLDGBLOG considers the invention of the Dutch company to be a real “road printer”.

“After you’ve watched this footage, of course, it becomes immediately clear that it is inaccurate to refer to this technology as a literal or genuine act of ‘printing’, but it’s nonetheless provocative to imagine a world where roads can be created, as if from an inkjet printer, directly from the vehicles that travel on them.”

It’s not a coincidence that this road machine was built in The Netherlands. Because of the wet geomorphological conditions, the soil is usually very marshy. In Amsterdam houses are built on long pillars preventing them from sinking in the mud. Also roads suffer from this unstable upper layer of the Dutch surface. Heavily used brick roads have to be renewed after each 7 to 10 years. In Amsterdam this leads to serious traffic obstacles. The enormous road producing capacity that The Tiger Stone records can be a great solution to this issue.

The Tiger Stone is a six meters wide machine that is able to (re)pave an entire street at once, including edges. The device is amazingly simple to handle — any person can work with it within five minutes, according to the company that rents them. The machine uses gravity. Naturally the stones fall down onto the road directly into the appropriate pattern. The Tiger Stone is a solution for the heavy work that street pavers in Holland usually have to do manually.