April 14, 2014

In a first, a Chinese company has advanced the science of 3D printing by printing 10 houses entirely out of recycled materials, in just under a day.

Earlier this month after we posted "10 completely 3D printed houses appear in Shanghai, built under a day", some commentors are complaining that the 3D printed house looks strange and that isn't real 3D printing. We don't see what their problem is. The parts, such as frame, wall were printed separately. The parts dry quickly and can then be used to assemble to a complete house.

This week the company behind the 3D-printed houses, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co revealed more photos showing off the concept.

3D printed wall

3D printed frame

An enormous 3D printer, measuring 32-meters long, 10-meters wide, and 6.6-meters high, was used to print each of the structural components of the houses.

The houses, each covering an area of 200 sq m, in Shanghai's Qingpu district are printed with special "ink" - construction waste, tailings and industrial waste that was recycled. The best thing is, they are built with very little labor and they are incredibly inexpensive (approximately $4,800 each). The company hopes one day the technology could provide affordable housing for the impoverished.

WinSun said the team finished the design of the special printer several years ago.

"We purchased parts for the printer overseas, and assembled the machine in a factory in Suzhou," said Ma Yihe, CEO of the company. "Such a new type of 3D-printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective."

Ma said that the well-known housing group Tomson has approached the company and they are planning to build an entire villa with this new technology.

Ma now plans to build 100 recycling factories in the country and continue collecting and transforming waste into cost-effective "ink" for 3D printers.

Update April 15, 2014:

China has announced the first 3D printed house project will be launched in Qingdao, Shandong Province. A 3D printed building will be located in the Hi-tech Zone, Qingdao International Sculpture Park, to showcase new technologies. The building will be used to display various 3D printed products and to offer workshops to general public for an amzing 3D printing experience.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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Noah Katz wrote at 6/15/2014 8:38:26 PM:

Concrete is not suitable as a structural material unless reinforced with something with much greater tensile strength, like steel or fiberglass. Otherwise these houses will come tumbling down in the first little earthquake. I didn't see anything indicating that there's reinforcement.

adam freasier wrote at 6/15/2014 4:10:00 AM:

A step in the right direction towards building structures on other planets that won't require us to be there to see it built. I know when we set foot on another planet we can establish there and make moves towards another. If I win the lottery, I know what system I will buy into! Make a new Disneyland on each atmosphere.

G_M_PP wrote at 4/27/2014 9:53:56 PM:

Matt ... to cast-pour the concrete, a woody or plastic or both mould have to be built before, which is both time- and material-consuming (some wood have to be cut to gauge and then is wasted). Also to recollect auxiliary materials is time consuming and costly to transport back.

Matt wrote at 4/25/2014 10:05:03 PM:

And how much quicker could that same structure have been produced if the concrete was poured.

Grey Fox wrote at 4/22/2014 4:41:26 PM:

At first I thought the product was made for occidental families that wouldn't want to wait an entire month before moving out to another place. I thought to myself "that's one ridiculous idea because the house won't be strong enough to resist the first meteorological hazard". But now that I see all your comments, I realise how much marvelous it could be for poor countries over the world. People could afford a real house for much less money. Of course, they won't live in the same comfort as others do, but it's still something ! Green thumb, definitely !

Jim-Bob wrote at 4/19/2014 11:24:28 AM:

I want to believe the story, but something about it smells fishy. There just aren't enough photos of the actual houses built and their details. Also, why are there no overall pictures of the actual printer itself, or at least a video of it performing it's function? Likewise, the houses themselves don't really look as large as they are billed as being.

wout zweers wrote at 4/17/2014 10:52:00 AM:

wow! what an incredible thing! a huge jump forwards

Eve wrote at 4/16/2014 3:42:47 PM:

i must admit that since your original post was published on April, 1st , i thought it was an april's fool joke

moladi wrote at 4/16/2014 10:49:42 AM:

We produce homes in-situ with moladi plastic formwork, in a day. We work with cement / mortar / concrete on a daily bases. If "these structures spits out layer upon layer of concrete made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings", it would be impossible to lift or erect these "structures" in 24 hours as they do not have sufficient strength to be lifted or moved and will collapse and crack. Therefore the statement that " a small village was erected in about a day" is not true. If this is false then what is true?

Nityanand Haldar wrote at 4/15/2014 11:44:22 AM:

This is a super ideas of this generation peoples, But we need to think about the against as well, it’s a of curse cost affective but strength ?

A.T.D wrote at 4/15/2014 8:05:16 AM:

More than 10 years a go, using additive and layered manufacturing technique called "Contour Crafting (CC)" hase been perviously proposed by Prof. B.Khoshnevis which is more advanced with a lot of advantages than the 'green 3D-Printed house. http://www.contourcrafting.org

Stefan - Facebook.com/thepro wrote at 4/14/2014 5:59:39 PM:

I could have a Pineapple above the sea! Though the implications are abundant, its up to the creators and whether or not this application is picked up by very creative designers with distribution (and reach) that this is seen over here. My bet is that we'll have this over here, printing one-off buildings for events and homeowners alike.

Feign wrote at 4/14/2014 4:37:35 PM:

I think some people were thinking that it was implied that the houses were printed on-site, where this makes it very clear the various parts of the houses were printed and then assembled on-site. This is really a huge step, allowing tilt-up construction to be customizable. I think people will be a lot more impressed when they start building these with the kind of bombastic archetectural style that would be impractical with other methods, rather than making the houses look like a generic house shape and trying to sell the system on cost and speed alone.

Jonathan wrote at 4/14/2014 4:26:00 PM:

Good idea!

Denny wrote at 4/14/2014 11:04:54 AM:

now i understand it, neat concept.. cheap recycleable raw material, movable gigantic 3d printer house.. next year if they release this worldwide: more cheap house will be more affordable..

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