Feb 13, 2017 | By Benedict

Apis Cor, an additive manufacturing construction company based in San Francisco and the Russian cities of Moscow and Irkutsk, has used its own construction 3D printer to build a 3D printed house in Stupino, near Moscow. Construction of the 37-square-meter building took less than a day.

3D printed house in Stupino, Russia

Russia is home to some of most incredible architecture in the world, from Middle Muscovite gems like Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow to the imposing and controversial structures colloquially known as “Stalin’s high-rises.” Excitingly, Russia could soon be home to a whole new style of architecture: 3D printed buildings. Moscow- and Irkutsk-based Apis Cor, an innovative construction company that has developed its own concrete 3D printer, recently built a house in Stupino, near Moscow, and believes it could make many, many more.

What’s perhaps most impressive about Apis Cor and its 3D printing equipment is the sheer speed at which buildings can be erected using the new additive technology. Construction of the majority of the 3D printed Stupino house, an unusually shaped single-floor building measuring 37 square meters, took just a day. And according to the company, this is just the beginning. “We are people,” Apis Cor says. “Engineers, managers, builders, and inventors sharing one common idea—to change the construction industry so that millions of people will have an opportunity to improve their living conditions.”

Building the 3D printed house with the Apis Cor 3D printer

First announced in October 2016, the Stupino 3D printed house project got underway in December. Using the Apis Cor concrete 3D printer, workers were able to erect the main structure of the house in just a day, with the glazing and finishing touches added afterward. The house is now almost complete, and will serve as an exhibition for those interested in Apis Cor and its exciting additive manufacturing technologies.

The Apis Cor 3D printer at the center of this construction revolution is unlike some offerings from competitors. (CyBe Construction, Cazza Construction, and Millebot are just some of the emerging companies looking to become leaders in 3D printed construction. Each has its own distinctive technology.) The Apis Cor printer uses a telescopic arm that rotates upon a central platform, enabling users to print from within the building. It is also mobile enough to be transported in a truck and then set up in the appropriate location.

The Apis Cor 3D printer

Although the Stupino house measured a relatively cozy 37 square meters, Apis Cor says its concrete 3D printer is capable of fabricating structures far larger than that: up to 132 square meters, to be precise. The additive manufacturing machine, which measures 4 x 1.6 x 1.5 meters and weighs two tons, is also equipped with a number of useful features, including a horizontal self-leveling tool, allowing the printer to be operated by only two workers.

Although more-or-less a concrete-printing 3D printer, the Apis Cor additive manufacturing system is designed to work with a special printing compound. “For 3D printing the construction printer uses a specially developed mortar mix on cement base with the addition of special additives, including reinforcing ones,” Apis Cor explains. “Regular concrete solutions shouldn’t be used due to the equipment design and technology. In that case we can not guarantee the stated characteristics of printed structures and equipment operation.” At present, the cost of the Apis Cor formula ranges from 6000 to 9000 rubles ($103 to $155) per cubic meter.

The 3D printed Stupino house has a distinctive shape

If the Stupino house was a publicity stunt, it has certainly laid the foundations for global interest in the Russian construction company: Apis Cor has already partnered with a number of major companies around the world, including Korean electronics giant Samsung, Russian insulation and waterproofing specialist TekhnoNIKOL, and PIK Group, the largest real estate and property building company in Russia. A representative for PIK confirmed that it has purchased an Apis Cor 3D printer and plans to test the technology in the near future. The representative also estimated that 3D printed buildings could become commonplace in as little as three to five years.

In an interview with March, a Moscow-based architecture school set up in 2012 (also a partner of Apis Cor), Apis Cor founder Nikita Chen-yun-tai explained what he is trying to do with his company: “With the expansion of 3D printing, people can print any product imaginable at home, at an affordable price, to fit their needs. The same ideas influence our development. We are opening a new opportunity for people: 3D printable building materials that permit building at an affordable price, in the shortest possible time, anywhere, in a way that fits the customer’s needs. The 3D printed building, designed digitally, has become a reality.”

In line with its ambition to transform the global construction industry, Apis Cor now plans to start 3D printing houses in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia, and “even in Antarctica if needed.”

Apis Cor 3D printer specifications

Max. operation area

132 m²

Max. height from a single point

3100 mm

Output

100 m2 of effective area per 24 hours

Working movement speed

1 - 10 m/min

Idling speed X/ Y

20.000 mm/min

Positioning precision

±0,5 mm

Repeated positioning precision

0,1 - 0,2 mm

X / Y / Z axis drive

servodrive

X / Y axis linear guides

precision profile

Z axis positioning precision

0,1 - 0,2 mm

Automatic horizontal stabilization

High-precision inclinometer 0.0001 degree

Reverse switches

non-contact on all axes

Extrusion head position tracking

gyroscope and laser rangefinder

Spatial stabilization

PID controller

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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Scott Tyler wrote at 2/18/2017 11:46:48 PM:

Stop being cheerleaders and inject critical thinking into what comes across as lazy and hyped reporting.

Scott Tyler wrote at 2/18/2017 11:44:18 PM:

You folks are creating credibility issues for yourselves around 3DP building tech. You need to seriously tighten up your reporting due diligence (especially articles authored by women with ZERO construction experience…so painful to read). Happen to know for a fact “Construction of the 37-square-meter building took less than a day” is absolutely false and constitutes fake news at worst and complete ignorance at best. December attempt was halted due to technical issues that pushed estimated completion of the building envelope into two weeks. BTW: Where’s the roof? How did they print the roof? Answer: they didn’t print the roof and are presently not capable of doing it. There’s more…but I’ll leave it at that.

volkov@cstroy.ru wrote at 2/15/2017 8:53:49 AM:

What are wall concrete strength and durability characteristics: frost resistance? water impermeability etc??



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