3D printing in architecture


This Bizarre Concrete Beam Is the Smartest Use of 3D Printing In Architecture Yet 

This Bizarre Concrete Beam Is the Smartest Use of 3D Printing In Architecture Yet

I’m going to put this as gently as possible: 3D printing entire buildings, right down to the fixtures, doesn’t make a ton of sense yet.

It’s an exciting vision of the future, of course, but it’s also a myopic one—we’re forcing an emerging technology to fit into the mold of our existing world. While plenty of companies have demonstrated it can be done, that doesn’t mean it should be done. A group of Italian engineers and researchers want to prove that 3D printing individual structural unit makes more financial and environmental sense. The group, called WASProject, originally set out to design a printer that could produce full homes. “WASP was born with the dream of printing houses with 100% natural materials,” the company writes today. “But wisdom teaches that extremism is never a good thing.”

This Bizarre Concrete Beam Is the Smartest Use of 3D Printing In Architecture Yet 

Now, WASProject focuses on printing specific pieces of buildings and bridges—the structural beams—that usually require the most heavy and CO2-producing concrete. “Concrete is bad for the planet,” the group explains. “A ton of cement generates a ton of Co2.”

The group’s designs get rid of any redundant materials in a beam. With smart software modeling, they say they’re able to cut down on the amount of CO2 produced by a structural beam by 50 percent. The product of their research was unveiled today, and they describe it as “the world’s first 3D printed reinforced beam,” though other groups have certainly been pursuing similar ideas.

The fact that it’s lighter and less expensive isn’t the most important thing about the design—it’s the fact that is uses less concrete. Concrete is the most-used artificial material on Earth, aGizmodo’s Maddie Stone wrote yesterday, and it’s now a $100 billion market. In countries that are developing cities very rapidly, it’s the singular building block: One popular stat, for example, holds that China has used more concrete in the past three years than the US did in the entire 20th century. And unfortunately, making the stuff contributes to as much as 7 percent of global CO2 emissions.

While printing full houses also has the potential to cut back on waste, by using construction refuse for “ink,” for example, the technology is still too nascent to be used widely anytime soon, or in any structure besides simplistic one-story homes. WASP’s beam, on the other hand, is already being stress-tested at the University of Naples’ engineering lab. One day, it could be integrated into conventional structures and skyscrapers, without the architects or developers needing to design a fully printed building.

It’s still a long ways from being adopted by the industry—this is still just an experiment. But it’s far less of a pipe dream than a full 3D-printed house. You might be waiting on that for a while.


by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan | 8/11/15 11:00am

The World’s tallest building!

Another Sensational Milestone in the World of 3D Printing – The World’s Tallest Building Built from Recycled Construction Waste


image from http://mp.weixin.qq.com

A Chinese company has used 3D printers to create five-story homes using construction waste. The project architects say this is the world’s tallest building constructed using this technology.
The new project is the brainchild of Shanghai-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, who also managed to use 3D printing technology to create a 1,100 square meters villa in the Suzhou industrial park of China’s Jiangsu Province. It is not known how comfortable the buildings will be to live in, but one cannot argue with the cost, the villa complete with interior decoration cost a little over $160,000.
image from http://mp.weixin.qq.com
According to the 3D printing website 3ders.org, it took the company a day to print one level of the building and another five to put it together. In order to undertake the mammoth task, the company used a massive 150-meter long and 6 meter high printer. They use recycled building waste for the materials or ‘ink’ which also contain glass fiber, steel and cement and special additives. The process works by secreting layers of construction material on top of each other to create densely packed building blocks.
image from www.yhbm.com

The company says the buildings are perfectly safe to live in, and are expanding their horizons and hope to build housing blocks as tall as 12 stories in the future.

WinSun estimates 3D printing technology can be very savvy: it may save between 30 and 60 percent on building materials with costs slashed by 50 percent up to 80 percent. The firm said that it may also shorten production time by 50 to 70 percent.

The company has been building up a reputation. In April, it managed to print 10 full-size houses in a day.


Entirely 3D printed estate

3D printed houses have already become old news!

Check out this newly started 3D printed project! An entire estate; swimming pool (with pool house, of course), and a 4 bedroom house.

All 3D printed.

New York City architect/contractor Adam Kushner begins construction of the first ever 3D printed estate, which features a 3D printed swimming pool, 4-bedroom, 2400 square foot home, and more.  The 3D printer which will be a modified version of Enrico Dini’s D-shape printer, will, if all goes as planned, eventually be able to automatically place rebar within the 3D printed house, as it prints.

We have covered a lot of news concerning the 3D printing of houses, over the course of the last year or so. Whether it was the 3D printed castle that Andrey Rudenko has constructed in Minnesota, the 3D printed salt house that Emerging Objects has built, or one of the many other projects that have been taking place around the globe, the technology is only making small waves among the construction industry.

None of these projects come close to that, which well known New York City Architect and Contractor Adam Kushner, and partners James Wolff, and Enrico Dini have planned and already have begun to undertake in Gardiner, New York. Kushner, who runs KUSHNER Studios and In House Group in New York City, has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry. His company has designed and constructed buildings in Manhattan as large as 80,000 square feet in size, and he, as well as his company, has been featured on shows such as Fox News, BBC Home, and Celebrity House Hunting.

“About a year and a half ago, I started to become immersed in 3D printing,” Adam Kushner told 3DPrint.com. “I said, ‘OK, who’s doing this on the construction level?’  That is where I see the future. I don’t care about the toys or the games or the little things people are doing on their desktops. What I really saw, was the bigger potential for 3D printers in the construction industry. That is a trillion dollar business, and it changes the paradigm of how we build.”

Kushner found a man named Enrico Dini, who is quite well known in his own right, for the invention of his extremely large 3D printer, capable of printing out large structures and buildings. Dini owns and operates a company called D-Shape, as well as a patent for a magnesium-based binding process that the 3D printer uses.  The process combines sand or other materials with a magnesium-based binder to create stone-like objects.

Kushner told Dini that he wanted to bring his 3D printers, and the process in which they print with, to America, in hopes of using them for a few truly unique construction projects. Dini informed Kushner that he had been talking with a man named James Wolff about opening a potential business for D-Shape in America. Kushner contacted Wolff, the two hit it off, and to make a long story short, they decided to create D-Shape Enterprises New York.  Wolff, is the co-founder of Deep Space Industries, which won two major NASA contracts for the asteroid mission and now has an office at Ames.

Just this past June, Kushner flew over to Italy to meet with Dini. The two agreed to ship one of these large 3D printers back to New York, and it is scheduled to arrive in January of 2015. From there, Kushner, Wolff and their team of workers plan to begin 3D printing what will undoubtedly be the single most amazing 3D printing project ever undertaken. Surprisingly, Kushner has no doubts that he will successfully accomplish it.

“There are people who design. There are people that build. There are people that design and build,” said Kushner. “Rarely do the two come together.  And although Design-Build firms certainly exist, we have the rare niche in that we are designers who are very good at building, as opposed to contractors that happen to have an architect on staff.” This is where Kushner believes he has an advantage over all of the other projects that have been attempted, and to varying degrees, succeeded or failed.

The massive project that KUSHNER Studios will be undertaking, is for the 3D printing of an entire estate in Gardiner, New York. It will feature an in-ground swimming pool, a pool house, and a 2400 square foot, 4 bedroom home. If accomplished, like Kushner undoubtedly believes, it will go down in history as perhaps the most innovative project that brought 3D printing into mainstream construction – which if successful it undoubtedly will do.

Master Site Plan (click to enlarge)

“It could be ego driven, it could be legacy driven, but if I am going to leave the world anything, I’m hoping that perhaps this might be my little niche,” Kushner told us.

Surely one would wonder, how in the world a project this large, and this unique would be permitted for building in New York, with the lack of history that 3D printing has in the construction industry. Surprisingly, it has already been permitted, and it was actually a relatively simple process. “There was a form I had to fill out, and it asked for ‘method of construction’,” explained Kushner.

On the application, there were 3 options; wood, steel, and masonry. Kushner created his own forth option called “3D Printed”, and checked it. He sent it into the city department of buildings, and he was granted a permit. When the inspector came out to see the site and the site plans, he didn’t bat an eye.

Construction on the site has begun, with power being dropped in last week, and the electricity on the site should be live within a week or so, as of when this article was published. Once they receive the 3D printer from Dini, they plan to begin printing the in-ground swimming pool, which will be the easier task of what Kushner sees as a 3 stage process. Stage 1 will be the pool, stage 2 – the pool house, and stage 3 – the 2400 square foot house. While using Dini’s 3D printer, he plans to modify and “tinker with it” to increase its efficiency and printing ability, so that by the time they are ready to print the full-size house, it will be a completely overhauled 3D printer, capable of doing some quite amazing things.

Laying down the power for the building site.

When Kushner went to visit Dini in Italy, he was shown the very first machine that the inventor had come up with, about 11 years ago. It is actually still in use today. “It was like looking at Thomas Edison’s wax cylinder (phonograph),” Kushner told us. “Then I went back to Pisa, and I saw what he is working on now, and for me this was like looking at a Victrola (phonograph). ”  Kushner continued his analogy by saying, “I know that what he is going to be sending us, is going to be more like a high fidelity stereo of the 1960’s. It will work, it will do the job, but there is a long way to go to bring it into the iPod era. I’m hoping that I’m going to get this high fidelity stereo version, and we are going to work on it. I’m hoping to get it to the iPod version in about a year to a year and a half.”

Starting on the swimming pool in late February or early March will give Kushner and the rest of his team the ability to make the needed tweaks and changes while undertaking a project that has already been proven to work with Dini’s 3D printer. “A pool is in complete compression,” explained Kushner. “Water on the inside, soil on the outside. One of the most successful uses of the D-Shape technology has been in the creation of artificial reefs.”

The material used for printing, will all be locally sourced. Kushner plans on taking local rock from his building site, crushing it up and then combining a bonding agent to make the material needed for the 3D printing process. As they are 3D printing the pool, Kushner fully expects that he will be modifying the 3D printer to improve upon it. Then, they will move onto stage 2 – 3D printing the fully enclosed pool house sometime next summer. The pool house will feature some additional challenges, including a roof that will be 3D printed, as well as additional tensile forces on the structure.

One of Enrico Dini's large 3D printers, similar to the one that Kushner will be using and modifying. (image source: d-shape)

To overcome some of these issues, Kushner has several ideas which he plans to potentially use. They include the possibility of adding fiber, aluminum strands, or even Brillo pad-like steel shavings into the concrete mixture in order to add tensile strength to the printed structure.

Stage 3 – the 3D printing of the 2400 square foot house, which Kushner hopes to start in about 14 months from now, will be the most challenging. He sees this stage as where most of the major breakthroughs in the 3D printing technology will take place. Up until now, with previous ‘3D printed house’ projects, we have only seen very small houses actually 3D printed, or in some cases, small sections which have been assembled together. Kushner plans on blowing away all of these projects by completely 3D printing a full-size home. To do so, he plans on using ideas that have only previously been dreamt of, or in some cases unimagined altogether.

Pool Detail Plans (click to enlarge)

“My main focus is trying to figure out a way to get rebar installed into the mix as it is being poured (printed),” Kushner told us. This is where he feels the technology will really turn heads, and make people realize that this is the future of construction. “So what would it take to have an extruding reel that shoots through this continuous rod (of rebar), and cuts it at whatever moment (desired)? Not too much,” he continued.  “Technology is here now. There are machines that are automated to bend rebar. I think that’s what I bring to the picture, in that there aren’t too many architects and contractors who have worked in this medium, who understand concrete, rebar, and how to cut and bend it, and that field winnows down quite a bit when you throw in the number people who have worked in 3D technologies.”

If you look at the building plans included in this article, you will see that everything is constructed in slices. “I’ve taken the dimensions of the machine at the moment, which is 5m x 5m x 5m,” said Kushner. “I’m breaking [the construction] down into container sized units, so nothing is going to be larger at this moment than 10 meters by 5 meters, and that becomes the basic building block for all of these 3D printed pieces.”

Estate plans (click to enlarge)

Kushner and D-Shape are currently working on the STL files for the development of the estate; the same type of file used for desktop 3D printers. In fact, they plan on printing a small scaled version on a desktop 3D printer at some point, hopefully in the next week or so, prior to beginning the large full-scale version on-site.

As for costs of construction, that is yet to be seen, but Kushner expects that it will be far less than traditional construction methods, due to the fact that 45% of normal construction costs are usually attributed to labor.  With 3D printing, labor costs are virtually ‘0’, besides the individual(s) needed to operate the 3D printer.

Kushner, 51 years old, sees the project as a 2-year endeavor; one which he is taking very seriously. “This is serious for me. I don’t play games any more. Time is shorter, and this is something that I’d like to do with my days. If successful Kushner, Wolff, Dini, D-Shape, and team will go down in history as the first to use 3D printing on a massive scale within the construction industry.  It may very well change the paradigm within the construction industry.

You can view the architecture plans provided to 3DPrint.com by Kushner here.  What do you think about these incredible plans by Adam Kushner, and D-shape Enterprises New York?  Will he succeed?  What does it mean for the future of construction?  Discuss in the 3D Printed Estate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

by  | AUGUST 20, 2014

3D printed houses

First there were 3D printed robots.

Then there were 3D printed houses.

Now, there are robots, with 3D printed parts, 3D printing houses!

It is amazing how quickly the technologies around 3D printing have been developing over the last couple of years. Not only are we seeing Moore’s Law-like increases in the speeds of these prints, all the while prices are dropping substantially, but entirely new innovative approaches seem to emerge each day.

For instance, we have already seen 3D printing drones, combo 3D printer/CNC machines,  a 3D printing assembly line, and all sorts of crazy new ways to print with food. Today a unique, but quite innovative approach to 3D printing has been unveiled by a team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), based in Barcelona, Spain.

One problem with 3D printers today, is that their build envelopes are limited by the size of the actual printer. In order to print a house, you need a 3D printer which is larger than that house. This severely limits the utility of any one device, and equates to substantial costs for any person or company trying to print on a large scale. A team of researchers, led by Sasa Jokic, and Petr Novikov at IAAC, and includes Stuart Maggs, Dori Sadan, Jin Shihui and Cristina Nan, have invented and worked diligently on a method of printing large scale objects, such as buildings, with mobile 3D printing robots they call Minibuilders.

“Within the construction industry we haven’t seen any disruptive technologies being introduced for almost a century,” stated the IAAC research team. “We believe that robotics and additive manufacturing will play a key role in the construction industry of the future.”

The Minibuilder lineup consists of three different robotic devices, each with dimensions no larger than 42cm. Despite their small size, they are capable of printing buildings of almost any proportion. All three robots, all responsible for different functions, are required during any large 3D printing project.

Foundation Robot
This is the first robot to enter the construction site. It uses tracks as well as a line-follower sensor to move around and recognize curves of a project. The side of this robot holds the actual print head, which can gradually move up as the printed object builds upon itself. Once the object gets higher than the reach of the Foundation Robot’s arm, it’s time to move to the next Minibuilder.

Grip Robot
This robot clamps itself to the top of a build project, using four rollers. Each of the four rollers are connected to rotational and steering actuators, allowing the robot to position itself on a very precise area of the structure to begin printing. This robot uses the previously printed structure as a gripping support, so the material needs to dry extremely fast to allow it to support the next layer of the print. To do this, the Grip Robot uses heaters to cure the material as fast as possible. Once a structure’s shape and size are complete it is time to move on to the next robot.

Vacuum Robot
This is the final robot of the MiniBuilder construction process. It uses a vacuum within a suction cup to allow for attachment to the surface of an object. The purpose of this robot is to reinforce the structure which has been printed. To do this it travels up and down the structure repeatedly with two tracks, printing a material almost perpendicular to that of the other layers. This provides substantial support for larger objects.

Working together these Minibuilders are able to produce large scale 3D prints without the need for a large scale 3D printer. Although the technology may not have been perfected, researchers have put in place a stepping stone for a new method of printing buildings and other large object, which we are sure will continue to develop.

What do you think about this new 3D printing system? Could you see large buildings and homes eventually using a technology like this? Let us know in theMinibuilder forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out the video below, provided by IAAC, showing the Minibuilders in action.

by  | JUNE 17, 2014