Jan 18, 2015 | By Kira
On March 29, 2014, ten 3D printed houses, each measuring 200 square meters, appeared in Shanghai, China. The buildings were created entirely out of concrete using a gigantic 3D printer, and each costs only 30,000 RMB ($4,800).
Today, just ten months after the initial project, the company behind these 3D printed buildings, ShanghaiWinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, made a new announcement that will take 3D printed buildings to a whole new level: they have built the highest 3D printed building, a 5-storey residential house and the world’s first 3D printed villa. The villa measures 1,100 square meters and even comes complete with internal and external decorations.
Now in their 12th year of business, WinSun holds 98 national patents for construction materials. Their experiences in construction have allowed them to truly innovate in the area of 3D printing technology. For example in the 2004 and 2005, the company developed a 3D printing spray nozzle and automatic material feeding system. Then, in 2008, WinSun printed the wall of an actual building.
Today’s press conference attracted more than 300 building industry experts, investment bankers as well as media reporters. Ma Yi He, CEO of WinSun explained: the company’s success is due to their unique and leading techniques. First is their exclusive 3D printing ‘ink,’ which is a mixture of recycled construction waste, glass fiber, steel, cement and special additives. According to Ma, waste from recycling construction and mine rest produces a lot of carbon emissions, but with 3D printing, the company has turned that waste into brand new building materials. This process also means that construction workers are at less risk of coming into contact with hazardous materials or work environments.
The company told us that the 3D printing villa was specially designed for Tomson Group, one of the most well-known Taiwanese-owned real estate company. The total costs attached to printing this villa amount to more than 1 million yuan ((161k USD), though 10 sets have already been pre-ordered.
The second trick up their sleeve is the printer used to build the houses, which is 6.6 meters tall 10 meters wide, and 150 meters long. “This is the world’s first continuous printing 3D printer, and the largest 3D house printer in the world.” said Ma. The sheer size of the printer allows for a 10x increase in production efficiency. WinSun estimates that 3D printing technology can save between 30 and 60 percent of building materials and shortens production times by 50 to even 70 percent, while decreasing labor costs by 50 up to even 80 percent. Future applications include 3D printed bridges or tall office buildings that can be built right on site.
WinSun also uses architectural design software to integrate different designs and to meet the needs of various building structures, so they are not limited to just printing cookie-cutter houses.
Ma hopes that with their 3D printing technology, they can subvert the commonly held image of a construction site: an extremely noisy, dusty area and an eyesore in almost any neighborhood. The dry construction method used by WinSun is clean, compact, and much more time efficient—without compromising quality.
“These two houses are in full compliance with the relevant national standards,” Ma Rongquan, the Chief engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau, explained. “It is safe, reliable, and features a good integration of architecture and decoration. But as there is no specific national standard for 3D printing architecture, we need to revise and improve such a standard for the future.”
Construction standards for 3D printing building below 100 meters
Construction standards for 3D printing building above 100 meters
Today’s display site featured also a single-story house pre-ordered by the Egyptian government, which will soon be shipped to Egypt. As Ma explained, “This house was printed within a single day, and is part of a total order of 20,000 units.”
And if the 3D printed villa and 6-storey residential house weren’t enough, WinSun made three additional announcements today. The first is that they will collaborate with Nile Sand Material Technology Co. LTD. Within two years, both companies plan to establish 12 Dream Factories in desert using a sand 3D printer developed by WinSun. They are currently looking for new materials to be combined with the sand. Ma said that its energy and material saving abilities, as well as the environmental protection it offers, are the greatest advantages of 3D printed architecture. They have found that desert sand is an excellent building material, which can be used to create sand fixation walls and vertical green walls for the desertification control of the sand.
WinSun also signed contracts with Winsun Global, is a joint venture consisting of Winsun and an American company. Over the next three years, they will set up factories in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Qatar, Morocco, Tunisia and the United States and more than other 20 countries, in order to popularize 3D printing building. They also aim to – especially for the Middle East and Africa – to provide cheap and efficient homes for low-income families. The first series of 3D printing equipment are already set to be shipped abroad.
Finally, WinSun has announced a joint venture with the China Railway 24th Bureau Group. WinSun will become China Railway’s engineering and technology DIY center to develop technologies for its ‘Dream Factories’ worldwide. They will cooperate with the China Railway to build 5 factories in Shanghai Zhangjiang high-tech Park, in Hebei and the Heilongjiang provinces, as well as in Mexico and Russia.
WinSun also signed contracts with Korea KDC Corporation, KIP Pavilion at Milan Expo and will collaborate with designers from around the world to continue building 3D printed houses.
By improving efficiency, reducing waste, and making construction sites less dangerous and also less of an eyesore, WinSun could change the very way that we think about construction. Their 3D printed houses could create family homes in areas where building was previously too difficult or expensive, and eventually business and even schools. Once they get the ball rolling, it’s not hard to imagine going from a 3D printed villa, to a 3D printed village.
Check out below more photos of world’s first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building in China, photographed by 3ders’ reporter Li.
3D printed bricks
Images credit: Li / 3ders.org
Posted in 3D Printer Applications