Jan 29, 2015 | By Alec

Would Disneyland be any more attractive if all the rides and buildings were made with a 3D printer? While I don’t think children would care, it would certainly be a spectacle to many dads. If the concept alone excites you, then I have some good news for you: a Minnesotan man is actually planning to 3D print a type of theme park.

And this isn’t just some wild fantasy, as the man in question – Andrey Rudenko – actually has the machine and the experience to back up his plans. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Andrey made quite a shock in the 3D printing community during the summer of 2014, when he successfully 3D printed a gorgeous fantasy castle. Even then, a Disney venue wasn’t far off; if it was a bit larger and had a nice paint job, his castle wouldn’t look out of place in any theme park.

But now Andrey and his home made concrete construction 3D printer are back for a new and far more ambitious project. As he explained to 3ders.org, he is starting a new main project entitled ‘fantasy-style 3D concrete print village’. As the name suggests, he is planning on 3D printing a whole village of intricately designed, architecturally innovating structures.

"The land will serve as a practice area for the future architects and civil engineers to play with a new, innovative, and cutting-edge structures/buildings using 3D concrete printing technology. Andrey told us. "The village will be a set for small-scale houses and art projects printed out of concrete. Then, the next stage will be to start construction of small, elaborate hotels and larger structures there making the place the first of its kind, with the hopes of becoming attraction/ location for tourists in several years."

While he hasn’t been able to find a site for this ambitious printing project just yet, he has already been working on sketches of the homes he’s planning on building (above). These will, Andrey plans, include multiple stories and easily measure up to 40 or 50 ft in length.

But his bravado doesn’t even end there, as he is already working on plans to make this an international project, rather than one in a deserted part of North America. "I hope to make this project international rather than just localized in a one country." Andrey told 3ders. "The idea is to create an international community in different countries exchanging knowledge, experience and interchanging 3D files. I have some connections with EU, US , Russian and some Asia architecture universities , and I already have land for experimental printing near Moscow to start from. So we can make communication between countries (if interested)."

But this project isn’t just about showing off or doing crazy things with a 3D printer; instead, Andrey is aiming to bring about a revolution in the construction industry and showing that 3D printing is a viable, affordable and functional construction method.

For one, he hopes to educate a whole new generation of architects and civil engineers in the power of 3D printing. To do so, he hopes to involve a large group of students at his fantasy village. "to study and develop this technology. I hope to make this “creative place” educational. If there is interest, the students could create 3D models of unique buildings for future implementation." he said.

But on a more wider front, he is also trying to create more awareness among the established industry about what this technology can do. In that light, he is already very positive about the pioneering 3D printed construction work, the world's first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building that has been taking place in China by the Shanghai Winsun company. "I am very excited they are developing and pushing this technology forward." Andrey said. "They have achieved a significant milestone since the previous attempts to build structures in 24-hours. It’s great progress for the industry, and so it brings us one step closer to what we all strive for-which is making the 3D construction a reality."

On the other side of the ocean, however, progress is slower and awareness is almost non existent. Not only does the governmental bureaucracy get in the way of development – "I’m facing an endless loop of bureaucracy related to permits, patents, certification, etc." – but at the same time, architects and engineers typically have no idea about 3D printed construction.

"When I am talking to architects, they are not familiar with this technology and how to use it for construction projects." Andrey told us. "They aren’t aware of limitations and advances of the technology [and don't] understand the magnitude of the upcoming changes in the construction industry." For the changes are, he argues, definitely coming. "The prediction of using robotics and automating more processes in construction are inevitable; the fact that I was able to create a concrete printer which is able to print onsite in one piece confirms it 100%. The cost of building, the pace and the quality of the printer’s work are even better than I expected."

His village will therefore be more than just a tourist attraction; Andrey aims to turn it into an educational and innovative experience. This also means exploring the limits of the current technology and discovering the most cost-effective process. For instance, he believes the wonderful work in China could still become far more efficient. "A specialist can clearly see that their buildings are built using large printed blocks." he comments. "Printing individual blocks, moving them around, and putting them together is a very expensive way to construct a building and is similar to the traditional building system." Andrey, instead aims to print houses in a single piece, which should greatly decrease labor costs and save a lot of energy.

But to make this ambitious plan a reality, Andrey is currently looking for investors to help him get the project underway. The good news is that the 3D printer is already operational. Paid for out of his own pocket, it's a "highly engineered machine with especially designed equipment like mixers, pumps etc. that functions like a portable plant. The equipment is able to work in harsh conditions and able to print 1-2 story buildings with +/- 2 mm precision/ But I cannot move forward without the means (both legal and financial) to turn it on and start printing." he said.

To do so, he is looking to raise investments in the range of 1.5 to 2 million dollars. In exchange, Andrey will offer up his entire 3D printer, all of his experimental productions and equipment, as well as all of his knowledge. "I am prepared to offer not just the printer, but a whole, new revolutionary system of construction using 3D printing, including insulation, heating, solar heating and thermal mass heat storage etc., and many opportunities for new and unique designs in architecture. Homes built using my technology will, if done correctly, feature significant energy-efficiency and will use close to zero energy." he said.

Of course, more limited funds would not completely kill Andrey’s drive, but ideally he "would like to cooperate with larger companies that have potential to sponsor new technology. The ideal partner would be large construction companies or cement/cement mixes producers. I would love to hear from a company such as Holcium." Alternatively, he is also more than happy to work together with an investor or a small company to produce an actual home you can live in for an investment in the range of 0.5 to 1 million dollars.

Both options would allow investors to take a seat on the forefront of a new age of smart construction, as looks like Andrey will be there regardless of what happens. Anyone interested in working with Andrey or simply wanting more information, can contact him through his website here. It would be great to see this project taking off, as we believe this could be just the push 3D printed smart construction needs to bring it to the mainstream.

But if all else fails, the romantic streak in Andrey has already come up with a back-up solution. "Otherwise, I can always print a small contemporary cabin for myself somewhere near the Canadian border, where home inspectors are more lenient about building permits, or even continue to develop the technology somewhere in Russia or Mexico. I could build a palace for the local oligarchs who are in the market for extravagant housing!" he added.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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