How A Chinese Company 3D-Printed 10 Houses In A Single Day

How a Chinese Company 3D-Printed Ten Houses In a Single Day

This month, architects in Amsterdam started work on the world's first completely 3D-printed house. It will take three years and quite a bit of money to finish. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a company claims to have printed 10 houses with inexpensive industrial scraps in less than a day. What's the difference?

It depends on your definition of 3D printing. Both projects are using massive 3D printers; in Shanghai, it's 150m long, 10m wide and 6m deep. Rather than expensive plastic though, the Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is printing with a concrete aggregate "made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste and tailings," according to the Architect's Newspaper. Each of these homes costs less than $5000.

How a Chinese Company 3D-Printed Ten Houses In a Single Day

But the biggest difference is that WinSun is printing its houses in pieces, then fully assembling them on site, at least according to 3Ders.org's recent report. In Amsterdam, every single room, detail, and piece of furniture will emerge fully formed. This is why some commenters are likely to argue that WinSun's project isn't truly 3D-printed.

How a Chinese Company 3D-Printed Ten Houses In a Single Day
How a Chinese Company 3D-Printed Ten Houses In a Single Day

But let's not quibble over syntax here. If these claims are true, WinSun is printing an inexpensive, sturdy home in mere hours for very little money. The company says the process would be perfect for fabricating homes for the impoverished and displaced — a major issue in some Chinese cities. In my eyes, that's far closer to the early dream of architectural 3D printing buildings: To harness rapid prototyping to build housing that's cheap, fast, and in the words of WinSun, "dignified". The concept of spending three years and millions of dollars to print a 13-room home out of plastic, by comparison, feels like nothing more than a gimmick.

According to 3Ders.org, WinSun has plans to build 100 factories in China to "collect and transform" construction waste into aggregate for its machines. Right now, there isn't much more information about the project online, but we've reached out to the company for more information. [A|N Blog; 3Ders.org]


Comments

    Couldn't you just cast that?
    Make 10 moulds, 10 houses per day.

      And then what happens when you want to change the design? you will need another 10 new moulds. That's the difference.

        Make the molds out of Lego and you can reshape it anyway you want. :)

      A solid moulding isn't as strong as a sandwich or honeycomb structure. That's why these walls have empty space inside them. there are advantages to printing.
      Also, moulds cost money too which has to be factored in once to start making more and more moulds.
      And don't forget that you'd have to take your mould apart somehow too.
      Moulding isn't really as easy as you may think... there's a reason we don't mould concrete buildings already.

        It isn't about strength, it's about stiffness. Yes, it is stronger per unit weight but it is not stronger.

          Ah well can't please everyone all the time...

          Well to the layperson, "strength" isn't really to specific... (Are the people above structural engineers or material scientists??) most people think that if it is harder to; bend, break or blow over then it is stronger.

          To many: Tough, strong and stiff are all strong...

          So you are saying that it has a lower compressive ultimate strength due to the low density walls...

          However as you said it will be a lot stiffer than the equivalent mass of concrete poured as a single solid slab (it would also have worse insulation properties (higher thermal flux).

          cheers.

          Last edited 04/04/14 6:33 pm

    One is made in Europe, the other is made in China... it's all about quality not quantity, unless you're in a poor country, er, i'll be quiet now...

    This is fantastic. If they can start doing this for the people of third world countries to get them into some sort of housing, that would be incredible. Loved this article!

      If I ever actually get around to registering, instead of just using guest access every time I comment - I'll upvote you. T this was the first reply to 'get it'

    SO when isn't 3D printing 3D printing, is that when the artistic merit doesn't stack up to the Journo's opinion.

    Who ever made a architectural masterpiece out of Plastic (ok that may be a first).

    As you ended, the original idea of 3D printing (for want of a better term) buildings was to have the building created as a easy build monolithic structure, not a jigsaw that had to be super-glued (ok CA'd) together...

    Seems to me it would have been useful... no.. imperative to make them in a stackable form, each with enough individual strength to hold up a small highrise-worth of the modules.
    Similarly, the outer walls really need to have some option for the usual window and door cutouts on any face, and maybe a standardised system of interlocking conduits for waste output and air/water/power/comms input.
    A shape like one of the various mostly round decahedrons that can be stacked and organically arranged or re-arranged fairly easily seems apropos.
    This "house sans picket fence" design seems a bit too conventional, for what could be a universally useful, and very cool looking, idea.
    Kowloon Walled City, but much cooler?

    Nowadays, modular home construction means that the modular homes are built in sections in a special-built facility, and then those parts are transported and assembled on site. How can you create a convincing argument that the modular home construction technique are not 3d printed, when the process of the Chinese houses are 3d printed using an extrusion technique?

    I would opt in for one of the houses this companies produces. Not the one in the pic here, but one of these http://www.yhbm.com/proshow.aspx?type=2&id=24

    Really inspiring what these people are doing.

    Or you could just, you know... use bricks. The other usual proven way of "3D printing" a house. If that's what manually stacking layers of construction material on top of each other following a blueprint is now called...

    Depending on the portability of the "printers", this could be a viable solution during catastrophies - i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados. And a good use of the rubble!

    I love this!! How can someone in the US get one? I would love an inexpensive home that was from recycled items. And it looks to be the right size. There are too many McMansions here.

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