China and the Netherlands Pioneer 3D Printing for Construction Projects

3dconstructionFor centuries, home building has been an lengthy and labor-intensive process that involved plenty of materials and plenty of builders. But with new advances in 3D printing, that may be about to change.Winsun Decoration Design Engineering, a company based in China, used it’s 10 by 6.6 meter custom built 3D Printer to construct ten single story homes in under 24 hours. The printer, which took 12 years to develop, printed out prefabricated panels made of a cement-based mixture of construction waste and glass fiber for builders to construct on site.

“Industrial waste from demolished buildings is damaging our environment, but with 3D-printing, we are able to recycle construction waste and turn it into new building materials.” Winsun CEO Ma Yihe told the International Business Times. “This would create a much safer environment for construction workers and greatly reduce construction costs.”

Each of the houses cost only $5,000 to build, and were designed to leave room for electrical wiring, plumbing and insulation, which are typically added post-construction.

The houses were each relatively simple, but Winsun CEO Ma Yihe believes that their 3D printer could someday be used to create projects as large as skyscrapers.

Dus Architects and Ultimaker in the Netherlands have also been working to adapt 3D printing for construction purposes. Their KamerMaker printer is large enough to print building components out of a bio-plastic mix that consists of 75% plant oil that can be assembled like Legos.

Hedwig Heinsman of Dus Architects told The Guardian that “The building industry is one of the most polluting and inefficient industries out there. With 3D-printing, there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs, and everything can be melted down and recycled. This could revolutionise how we make our cities.”

“I feel that this technology could actually go mainstream in the custom building market in the upcoming years,” says Erik Cocks,Marketing at Arthur Rutenberg Homes. “We are already involved in 3D rendering of custom home plans for model visualization so this could be an extension in the future.”

The exciting potential of this project has brought over 2,000 visitors to the Netherlands, including Barack Obama.