We’ve seen 3D printers fabricating ornaments, furniture, cars, and even a specialised 3D printer sent into space, however once again we are being blown away by the potential of this technology. We have a new first: a 3D printer that builds houses.
Hailing from Suzhou, a provincial city in China near to Shanghai, local company WinSun Ornament Design have created a huge 3D printer which can print whole buildings. Measuring in at 6.6 meters tall and 32 meters long, the behemoth can print houses and other prefabricated constructions en-masse, in very short amounts of time.
While the finished product is not going to win any design awards, it is very cheap.
The ‘ink’ of this printer is a mixture of rapid-setting building-grade cement and industrial construction waste, a material which is in overabundance in rapidly developing areas of China. This mixture is extruded onto a flat surface in layers, much like as if you were building an ornate cake. The pattern used in the 3D structure is designed to be lightweight but still very strong.
While the finished product is not going to win any aesthetic design awards, it is nonetheless very cheap. According to WinSun, they are able to produce 2100 sq. ft. (195 sq.m) buildings for as little as $5000. In addition, this kind of construction is much more advantageous to the health of builders, as they do not have to breath in copious quantities of concrete dust.
Using this technology, WinSun has been able to pull of some pretty impressive demonstration builds, including the complete construction of 10 houses in just one day. Despite the tech still very much being in the proof-of-concept phase, WinSun has high hopes, with CEO Ma Yihe hoping that one day they will use it to rapidly build massive projects like skyscrapers.
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