Jun 27, 2015 | By Simon

Although some of the biggest stories in 3D printing over the past year have involved either very large-scale additive manufacturing projects such as those centered around creating entire houses or alternatively, those focused on small nanoscale structures such as cell scaffolding for humans, we’ve rarely heard about the two coming together in one project.  

Yet, in a new collaborative project that currently has over SEK 35 million invested in it, a team of researchers and partners are developing a new technology that’s capable of producing full-scale 3D printed houses using cellulose material.   

The project, +Project, which is based out of the Sliperiet Fablab at Umeå Arts Campus, which is a part of the country’s well-regarded Umeå University, will focus on setting the pace for the region to be at the forefront of manufacturing and construction industry technologies.  

While the end-goal of the project is to lay the foundation for being able to print full-scale housing structures using cellulose-based materials, the Sliperiet team will also be developing smaller housing ‘elements’ out of the material including weather stripping, doors and modular walls.  

“The idea of the project is to develop a technology that can be used in reinforcing the manufacturing industry in the region,” says Marlene Johansson, Director of Sliperiet.

“For Sliperiet, the project, entitled the +Project, is a part in the strategy of forming collaboration in an open and interdisciplinary innovative environment. Here, meetings and collaborations are created between various scientific areas and together with companies in the region.”

Among others who have contributed to the  SEK 35.3 million that will be used to fund the project include EU Structural Funds, who contributed SEK 17.6 million to help push the country’s developments in digital manufacturing, sustainable building and 3D technology along.  

As for who will benefit from the findings and development of the project, the school has outlined that the target audiences for the +Project include both small and medium-sized businesses in the construction and wood industries as well as those responsible for designing the actual structures including architects, designers and IT professionals.

In addition to further developing the technology, the project also seeks to explore new circular models for business and production and to ultimately create a learning center for sustainable building design.  If all goes as scheduled, a World Expo will be created in 2018 when the project culminates.   

“There is already technology in place to print parts of houses in concrete, for instance,”  says Linnéa Therese Dimitriou, Creative Director of Sliperiet.

“Now, with this project, the region is one step closer to the front edge in the area of digital manufacturing and so-called mass-customization. This opens up for incredibly exciting future opportunities for the regional forest and construction industry as well as for regional raw material.”



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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