Most 3D printed homes we reported about were either small, pointy-end things made of clay and dirt, or very basic structures of concrete. A company from China decided that things just weren't moving as fast as they could.
That's why it took matters into its own hands and came up with a way to 3D print homes and other, larger buildings and still make them look great.
They have just revealed their first great success, or rather great successes since there are two structures ready for you to gawk at.
Located in the Suzhou Industrial Park, of east China’s Jiangsu Province, the structures are a simply marvelous-looking home and a 6-story apartment building.
The 3D printed buildings
Shanghai, China-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. uses a machine which measures 20 x 33 x 132 feet / 6 x 10 x 40 meters (height x width x length). A staggering size no matter how big you like to think.
It is that machine, a 3D printer actually, that WinSun used to build the structures, piece by piece. We suppose it's not quite as grand as having the whole things spring from the ground, but even modular construction is a remarkable achievement.
Especially when the results look so great, and when it's not just concrete that you get to use, but a mixture of several different materials.
To be more specific, the so-called “ink” used by the WinSun machine is made completely of construction waste. The stuff left behind and usually thrown away after some architectural project or other has been finalized.
Score a point for ecology, making it the third after the practicality of the method and the aesthetic value of the new buildings.
For those who want an exact list, the ink is made of fiberglass, concrete, sand and a special hardening agent to hold everything together. The ink is self-insulating and flexible by the way, making it good for both summer and winter, as well as resistant in the face of earthquakes.
Sounds too good to be true, but everyone believed the same back in April 2014, when WinSun revealed 10 homes that had been almost entirely 3D printed from recycled concrete. It goes to show that sometimes, a startup company will really surprise the world in the most awesome way possible.
Some parts weren't 3D printed
While the walls were tough enough thanks to the diagonal reinforced print pattern, WinSun still placed beam columns and steel rebar within the walls, as well as insulation. There is also room for pipe lines, doors and windows.
Still, even so, the labor needed was 80% less and material savings were of 60% compared to conventional home building methods.