Jun 14, 2016 | By Alec

China has been at the forefront of construction 3D printing since 2014, when the Shanghai-based company WinSun made headlines all over the internet for building not one, but ten 3D printed houses in less than 24 hours. But they are not the only concrete 3D printing pioneers that can be found in China, as Beijing HuaShang Tengda Industry and Trade has emerged as a challenger. As part of a truly remarkable building project, HuaShang Tengda has just 3D printed an exquisite 400 m2 villa in just 45 days. Most impressive of all, the structure was completely manufactured on-site, rather than in separate parts in a factory.

But of course this is not the world’s first 3D printed villa, as WinSun achieved that back in 2015. Alongside that villa, WinSun also 3D printed a five-story apartment building and even completed two gorgeous 3D printed Chinese courtyards, inspired by the ancient Suzhou gardens, a few months ago.

Instead of directly competing with them, it looks like Beijing HuaShang Tengda Industry and Trade has been focusing on a different aspect of construction 3D printing. While WinSun 3D printed most of the parts in advance and simply assembled them on-site, the Beijing company has instead set up an on-site 3D printing process – a move which could greatly reduce transportation costs and increase production efficiency. HuaShang Tengda has been working on their own 3D printing platform for architectural applications for several years now, and recently finished their own cement 3D printing hardware.

To showcase their breakthrough, the company 3D printed this impressive villa on a factory terrain in the Tongzhou region near Beijing. The remarkable 400 m2 structure features two stories, each being three meters high. All walls are 250 mm thick, and about 20 tons of exceptionally strong C30 grade concrete was used for the walls and foundation over the course of 45 days. Most importantly, the villa is also very strong and durable. During seismic testing, experts estimated that it can withstand earthquakes up to level eight on the Richter scale – which destroys most other buildings. “It just another breakthrough 3D printing can bring to the field of architecture,” its makers say.

What’s more, the entire structure was made using the company’s own 3D printing equipment and was controlled by their custom software setup. “Our house 3D printing equipment combines four separate systems: an electronic ingredient formulation system, a concrete mixing system, a transmission system and a 3D printing system,” a company representative revealed. “We have used a traditional reinforced concrete material to 3D print the villa, without any additives. The material does not need to be specially customized, so users can simply use locally-produced cement to greatly reduce material transportation costs.”

According to the company, this villa also showcases the advantages concrete 3D printing brings to construction. Not only is it very simple in use, they say, but it’s also quicker, more efficient and less costly than traditional construction techniques. Especially material costs are kept as low as possible by using conventional materials and cutting waste almost completely. This not only reduces the project’s total costs, but also eliminates the need for costly mold production.

Furthermore, their 3D printer also greatly reduces production times. A conventionally-made 400 m2 home would take about three months to build, whereas this villa was made in just 45 days. The 3D printer itself already cuts down on labor costs, while the increased efficiency means that the reduced labor force is needed for shorter periods of time. Only the steel insets need to be brought to the site and assembled.

Finally, a 3D printer also offers several obvious architectural advantages. Users can easily design structures featuring very complex facades and decorations with their software, features which would otherwise be difficult and costly to manufacture with traditional building techniques.

The Chinese developers believe that all of these advantages could have a huge impact in the construction market in the near future. In particularly, they believe that their 3D printing equipment can be used to efficiently improve the living conditions of farmers in rural China. Once these types of concrete 3D printers become commercially available, the entire Chinese construction industry could be revolutionized.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Al wrote at 1/21/2017 4:19:27 PM:

The walls look strongly built in the pictures shown. However the foundation of this demonstration unit appears to be a flat slab of reinforced concrete on leveled ground in the pictures. If that's the case then their building is vulnerable to sinkhole damage over time. Hope they design better foundations for longterm stability. Helical piers with adjustable mounts under the slab should provide compensation for vertical motion under the foundation. It might be cost effective in the long run.

John Milton wrote at 6/15/2016 6:11:38 PM:

The "so called" 5 storey building constructed by Winsun actually was a traditional reinforced concrete structure. The exterior of the structure was printed but these "walls" we're just the permanent forms or shutters for the reinforced structure.

Skip wrote at 6/15/2016 3:04:50 PM:

Re: Martin - LOL, I was thinking the same thing... Interesting yes, "Exquisite"? hardly! They need to lay off the superlatives. Another dumb thing here is just because something is 3d printed, its somehow a miracle. Its just a tool, and is NOT the best thing for every job. Its a terrible tool for many jobs that can be done faster, with much higher quality and cheaper with other tools. Its just another wrench in the tool box, and right now a pretty low quality expensive wrench at that (I own 2 3d printers, plus welders, CNC lathe, CNC mill, small foundry etc.)

Martin wrote at 6/14/2016 10:23:13 PM:

Exquisite, really ?

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