Oct 26, 2016 | By Alec

It’s been anticipated for more than a year now, but the moment has finally arrived. After experimenting with their custom concrete 3D printer since September 2015, researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU Eindhoven) have now finally received permission from the municipality of Eindhoven to build an actual 3D printed concrete home – the first of its kind in Europe.

The 3D printer itself was first unveiled at the Dutch Design Week in 2015, and was developed in collaboration with Dutch company ROHACO as part of the project 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP). The first concrete 3D printer of this size in the Netherlands, the completed machine features an extrusion printhead that can move in all directions will attached to a concrete mixer and pump. Featuring a 9 x 4.5 x 2.8m build volume, this 3D printer is considerably more accurate than competing machines of this size – as was illustrated by this student-made 3D printed pavilion unveiled last summer. The 3D printer reportedly cost around €650,000 to develop, with funding provided by ten commercial partners and the university.

Of course revolutionary hardware like this workshop-sized concrete FDM 3D printer needs to be extensively tested, and that is exactly what the research group led by professor Theo Salet has been doing over the past year. As Salet revealed, the machine’s technology has sufficiently grown to make robust and reproducible construction possible.

While a lot can still be improved, it’s time to make the next step, the professor says. “It’s time for the black-and-white printer to become a color printer. We’re looking at 3D printing multiple kinds of concrete simultaneously, and at embedding sensors and other hardware into the 3D printed concrete,” Salet revealed. “That would make it possible to incorporate 3D printed structures into the Internet of Things.”

A 3D printed concrete house would therefore be the perfect next step, and that is now finally becoming a reality. Earlier this week, the Eindhoven municipality and the TU Eindhoven signed a statement of intent to make this possible, as the start of the The making of our future city conference of Cobouw and the Eindhoven Municipality. The local government is known as a strong supporter of innovation in the construction industry. No location for this revolutionary project has been determined yet, but the municipality already said that this will be revealed in the very near future.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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