3D printed mansion and apartment block constructed in China
A Chinese construction company has 3D printed both a mansion style house and a five-storey tower of apartments. The firm, known as Winsun, made the dwellings as a “proof of concept”, according to Pocket Lint.
Winsun’s 3D printer isn’t something that would fit on your desktop, it’s huge. CNet reports that it measures 6.6 metres high, 10 metres wide and 40 metres long (equivalent to 20 by 33 by 132 feet).
The ink is a bit different to the common-or-garden coloured plastic that seems to be the stable consumable of the majority of 3D printers we have seen so far. Of course to build houses you need stone and concrete and thus the ‘ink’ used in this 3D construction printer uses a special mix of concrete and a hardening agent of some sort.
Even with such a large concrete part printer you can only print houses component by component – however the house ‘ingredients’ can come from the print machine in pretty decent big sizes. Later processing of 3D printed house parts is done with workers adding steel reinforcements and insulation for example. We hear that for larger structures, such as walls, the 3D printer can fill cavities with zig-zag pattern reinforcements.
3D printing a house could become more popular and widespread according to early findings from Winsun. Savings of between 30% and 60% in materials and cutting dwelling fabrication time by between 50% and 70% have been demonstrated by the Chinese firm. Fabricating large parts of the structure using 3D printed material also cuts down on the use and transport of scarcer materials such as quarried stone.
Look at the mansion style house at the top of this article. That dwelling is said to have cost only $161,000 to build in total. The buildings pictured are available to look around at Suzhou Industrial Park in East China.