Thoughts On That 3D Printed Building

By on January 24th, 2013 in coverage, Usage


Widespread media reports describe a project by Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars, who plans to build a home using 3D printing. He’s actually going to 3D print a house. 
The project will use the D-Shape 3D printing technology from Enrico Dino, who previously used this approach to produce a huge sculpture. The D-Shape 3D printer is able to extrude concrete on a large scale capable creating of building-sized objects. The resolution isn’t great, but that doesn’t matter on a huge object. 
As you can see in the rendering above, the building is indeed unusual. That’s the promise of this approach: straying away from straight lines imposed by traditional construction materials and  methods. The “Landscape House” is actually a mobious strip. 
But we have some questions. 
Any extrusion technology suffers from the problem of handling overhangs. Typically this is fixed by printing a separate support material or structure to hold up the overhang. The support is removed afterwards. But how is this done during a building-sized 3D print? In this case it seems that the D-Shape is actually not 3D printing the building onsite, but instead 3D printing pre-made sections at a factory which are subsequently assembled into the final structure at the building site. So this project is not literally 3D printing a house; it’s 3D printing house components. 
Secondly, we always have concerns about build times. On small personal extrusion 3D printers the print times are often very lengthy, with six, ten or even more than twenty hour prints common. What happens when you print something the size of a building? 
It’s longer, in spite of the much coarser resolution. In fact, the Landscape House is not projected to be completed until some time in 2014. Could this be the longest duration 3D print in history? 
But we don’t want to suggest this project is in any way wrong. Rather it is the first step towards a future where fantastic and surreal buildings are routinely and quickly produced onsite by massive mobile 3D printers. 
Via CNN and many others. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!