The company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co recently printed several 3D houses in Shanghai, China. The houses were printed using concrete and a huge 3D printer. Each of the houses they printed measures 200 square meters and costs only about $4800.
The houses were printed using the WinSun printer that measures 150(L) x 10(W) x 6.6(H) meters, and can print an entire building in mere hours. To print the houses, the printer uses high-grade cement and glass fiber, and works by carefully spilling out the printing materials layer by layer, building upward consistently. The 3D printer produces an open web joist structure and all the separate layers are then bonded together into the finished structure.
The printing process works through the use of computer and 3D modeling software, while the designs of buildings the printer creates are also able to take into account necessary additions, such as the additional space needed for insulation, plumbing, wiring and windows. Once the house is assembled, these necessary components can then easily be fitted to complete the construction process.
Printing all the necessary components of a house in a day is impressive enough, but WinSun goes a step further and uses only recycled material as the printing inputs, namely recycled construction waste, industrial waste and tailings. The company has plans to build 100 recycling factories in the country, spaced about 300 km apart, where they will collect and turn the waste materials into printing material for their 3D printers. According to the company CEO, the construction of new buildings using this method will result in zero construction waste. He also estimates that 3D printing could reduce construction costs by up to 50%. WinSun is also the holder of 77 national patents of construction materials, namely glass fiber reinforced gypsum and special glass fiber reinforced cement.
Printing homes is definitely a revolutionary idea, and one that could eventually transform the construction industry, especially in terms of handling and recycling construction waste. One of the main goals of the company is to use their 3D technology and printers to offer affordable housing to the nation’s poor, though the technology can also easily be used for more commercial purposes.