A major cost in desalination & transport in the future will be creating and maintaining a network of pipelines — to pipe water a 1000 miles inland from any coast. A goal of this great project will be to create pipelines cheaply on the fly; that won’t require much maintenance for 50 years — and  repair easily after the stress of earth quakes. These pipes would move water uphill for next to nothing by a combination of design and some combination of locally acquired energy –either water or sun.

Sound too ambitious? I trust not.

One current invention whose later later generations will be helpful in collapsing the cost of creating pipelines may well be the Three Dimensional Home Printer. Look at the article below and consider how it might be applied to pipelines.

Three-Dimensional Home Printers Could Disrupt Economy

Friday , October 12, 2007

By Lamont Wood


When your favorite gadget of the future breaks, you might select a replacement model online, download its design file and make a true 3-D replacement on your home printer.

Thanks to falling prices and wider application of an industrial technology called 3-D printing (among other things), this option might be a reality for consumers in a few years.

Instead of stamping or casting to create objects using tools, dies and forms that were laboriously created for the task, each object is basically printed — built thin layer by thin layer directly from a computer-aided design, or CAD, file using various high-accuracy deposition methods.

Sintering, for instance, deposits layers of fine particles that are heated until they bind to adjacent particles.

Stereo lithography, meanwhile, uses a laser to harden a layer of an object on the surface of a pool of special resin.

The object is then lowered slightly, and the next layer is created. Altogether, 3-D printing technologies can create things out of plastics, metal and ceramics, and some methods can add photo-realistic coloring.

More importantly, prices for 3-D printing machines have been falling rapidly, reaching $20,000, and the day is foreseeable when they will fall below $1,000 and become home appliances, says Phil Anderson of the School of Theoretical and Applied Science at Ramapo College in New Jersey.

The results, he warned, could be economically “disruptive.”

“If you can make what you need in your own home quickly, then manufacturers become designers, with no need for factories, warehouses or shipping,” Anderson told LiveScience.

Drawbacks to 3-D printing include time (aside from creating the data file, each object takes several hours to print and then usually requires additional curing), power consumption (metal objects especially require a lot of heat), size (current low-end machines have a workspace measuring 10 inches per side, so that anything larger would have to be made in segments) and the price of the specialized raw material.

Accuracy, surface finish and strength are not yet as good at the low end as at the high end, says industrial consultant Terry Wohlers.

3-D printers cheap enough for the home market could appear in four or five years, Wohlers said, though Anderson puts that figure at 15 years. However, that does not mean they will be in every home, churning out kitchenware or car parts on demand.

Other than dedicated tinkerers, video gamers will be the initial consumer market, Wohlers said.

“There are millions of people playing video games that often involve the creation of elaborate action figures,” he noted. “I think the first wave will be the addition of a button to those games that says ‘build me.’ The figure would arrive in the mail, and you could get a six-inch figure for $25 to $100.”

Today, making a figurine through a 3-D printing service bureau could cost something on the order of $500, but Wohlers expects volume would drive costs down considerably.


My idea would be a machine that gathered up material locally and extruded a pipeline that gathered heat or solar on its outside so as to conduct heat into the pipe a pattern that  pushed water on the inside  of the pipe along panels that were alternately hydrophobic and hydrophilic. The result would be that water moved in the pipe inland uphill. Just a thought.

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  1. […] I don’t know anything about this stuff so its easy for me to say. That said, here’s a discussion of a 3-D printing machine. This addresses half the […]

    Pingback by Hoover Dam « Desalination Research And Development — January 25, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  2. You may have to donate real estate in areas of falling property values.

    Comment by nick2 — October 9, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

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