The technology for the 3D printing of homes is still in its infancy, but the idea has great potential in this world where population is growing, and adequate and sustainable housing is just not keeping up. Wasp is an Italian firm that recently developed a 3D printer that can create affordable homes using mud as the main ingredient. Given the freely available and nearly limitless nature of mud, such a tech shows great promise.
Wasp’s 3D printer is about 20 feet tall (6 m) and can print buildings that are 10 feet (3 m) in height. Wasp envisions this technology to be used for building homes on location, and using only materials available on site. Apparently, this printer can be assembled in only two hours by two people, and is able to print structures made of mud, clay, and other naturally occurring materials.
In October 2014 the company showed off a model of the printer at Maker Faire in Rome. There they used a smaller, 13-foot model of the printer in an effort to demonstrate its capabilities. They used it to print a small house in just two days, using a mixture of sand and clay. The design of the homes this printer creates is inspired by mud dauber wasp, an animal that builds its nest using mud. This fits with the company name, though that is actually an acronym for “World’s Advanced Saving Project”.
Wasp has not yet revealed when they plan to begin deploying their 3D printers. The main aim of this project is to provide people in developing regions of the world access to affordable and sturdy shelter. Many of these regions lack the possibility of traditional construction, and a printer such as this would help immensely.