Shanghai Company 3-D Prints Village of Humble Concrete Homes

International, News, Technology
Thursday, April 3, 2014
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house-3d-printed-shanghai-8

(Courtesy 3ders.org)

A Shanghai building company has erected a small village of pitched-roof, 3-D printed structures—in about a day. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is behind the series of humble buildings, a fully fabricated unit is expected to cost less than $5,000. The homes were created through the use of a 490- by 33- by 20-foot 3-D printer that fabricates the basic components required for assembly.

house-3d-printed-shanghai-10

(Courtesy 3ders.org)

Rather than plastic, the machine behind these structures spits out layer upon layer of concrete made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings. WinSun intends to construct 100 factories that will harness such waste in order to generate their affordable “ink,” which is also reinforced with glass fibers.

house-3d-printed-shanghai-12

(Courtesy 3ders.org)

Purists will note that the WinSun productions are not 3-D printed structures in the traditional sense. Rather than projects like these, or the contour crafting processes championed by USC Professor Berokh Khoshnev, the Shanghai homes are not printed on site layer by layer. Instead they are composites of 3-D printed parts that require human intervention in order to be assembled into something resembling a house. WinSun estimates that their methods can cut construction costs in half and sees the potential for “affordable and dignified housing” for the impoverished.

6 Responses to “Shanghai Company 3-D Prints Village of Humble Concrete Homes”

  1. Marty says:

    I believe these are components waiting to be assembled into a home, rather than stand alone cottages. I believe the $5000 figure is for the assembled home, as 5000 each, for only the “framing” of the small structures would not be a good price.

  2. Raphael Sperry says:

    Thanks for providing all the detailed pictures! Outside of the 3rd printed pieces, this cottage appears to require metal roofing and aluminum storefront glazing, plus the fasteners and caulks needed to assemble those to the frame. The 3rd printed part does not appear to contain insulation, plumbing, lighting (or any other electrical connection), or a foundation. Building codes for developing countries present an interesting moral question as to whether the necessities viewed as public safety measures in the developed world can be safely omitted in these kinds of projects. But that aside, 3d printing does not yet seem to have solved the more complex technical challenges of architecture…

  3. Danny Newton says:

    This suggest some kind of emergency shelter in post disaster/recovery situations to me. It would compete for fresh water though.

  4. Thom Huggett says:

    The structures also appear to be only reinforced by a wire (?) mesh. Buildings in areas of seismic hazard need to be properly reinforced and detailed to resist lateral loadings.

  5. moladi says:

    We produce homes in-situ with moladi plastic formwork, in a day. We work with cement / mortar / concrete on a daily bases. If “these structures spits out layer upon layer of concrete made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings”, it would be impossible to lift or erect these “structures” in 24 hours as they do not have sufficient strength to be lifted or moved and will collapse and crack. Therefore the statement that ” a small village was erected in about a day” is not true. If this is false then what is true?

  6. wilhelm kaiser says:

    Dear Moladi
    Can you give me more info on your system? website?
    I think this 3d system is interesting to evaluate for developing countries, would like to do a test in Haiti whenever they are ready for it…
    Wilhelm

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