China super-sizes 3D-printing with world’s first printed apartment building
The utility of 3D printing continues to grow with leaps and bounds and the most recent invention, the world’s first 3D-printed apartment building, is on display now at China’s Suzhou Industrial Park. The building is the pet project of Shanghai-based company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. who have been working hard in the industrial construction 3D-printing market.
The building stands five-stories, encompasses a 1,100 square meters (11,840 square feet) and is constructed from 3D-printed materials made from recycled materials combined with fast-hardening cement. The size makes this the tallest 3D printed structure in the world.
The large pieces are fabricated by this printer at WinSun’s facility, shipped and assembled on-site. The components are complete with steel reinforcement and insulation to provide with official building standards.
The 3D printer array is monstrous in size compared to consumer models: 6.6 metres high, 10 metres wide and 40 metres long (20 by 33 by 132 feet). The printer was invented by WinSun’s CEO and founder Ma Yihe who has brought the firm notoriety already by printing 10 houses in a day during March 2014.
Images and descriptions of the printing process from WinSun’s website show the printer producing pieces by laying the frame and sides of the hollow walls and then filling it in with a zig-zag pattern of material to provide reinforcement. The company says that design is controlled by a CAD design template and a computer controls the extruder to lay down the final product.
According to WinSun the 3D-printing process saves between 30 and 60 percent on construction waste, can decrease production time between 50 and 70 percent and labor costs by 50 to 80 percent. The villa cost the company around $161,000 to build.
The company expresses an interest in using 3D-printing technology to reduce waste by using recycled materials and improve safety for workers and the environment, by exposing workers to less noise and hazardous materials.
WinSun won’t release how large the architectural pieces it can produce are, however hopes to use its technology to facilitate even larger construction projects in the future including on bridges and skyscrapers.
Image credit: Caxin; and WinSun, http://www.yhbm.com/index.php?m=content&c=index&a=lists&catid=67
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