The Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., has created concrete houses using a massive 3D printer.
Measuring 200 square metres, the fully fabricated houses cost approximately US$4,800 each, and were created using a huge 490 feet long by 33 feet wide and 20 feet deep 3D printer. Instead of ink, the printer uses a concrete aggregate composed of recycled construction waste, industrial waste and tailings, and pours it out layer-by-layer, consistently building upward.
Computer and 3D modelling software enables the likes of insulation materials, plumbing, electrical lining and windows to be taken into account in the design, and outfitted once the structure is solid and standing. The WinSun productions are not 3D printed structures in the traditional sense. Or are they printed on site layer-by-layer, such as the Contour Crafting processes developed by USC Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis. Instead, they are composites of 3D printed parts that are then assembled on site by construction workers.
This month, architects in Amsterdam began work on the world’s first completely 3D printed house, where each room, detail and piece of furniture will emerge fully formed. The 13-room house will be made with interlocking plastic details and concrete, take three years to build and cost millions.
In contrast, the WinSun homes are inexpensive and can be produced in hours. The company says this process is ideal for fabricating homes for the impoverished and displaced – major issues in some Chinese cities. The company also plans to build 100 recycling factories in China that will collect and transform waste into 3D printing materials through a special handling, processing and separation technology. WinSun estimates that 3D printing will save construction companies up to 50% on costs.