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China Constructs World’s First 3D Printed Apartment Building

A Chinese company has successfully 3D printed a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre villa from a special print material.

While architectural firms compete with their designs for 3D-printed dwellings, one company in China has quietly been setting about getting the job done. In March of last year, company WinSun claimed to have printed 10 houses in 24 hours, using a proprietary 3D printer that uses a mixture of ground construction and industrial waste, such as glass and tailings, around a base of quick-drying cement mixed with a special hardening agent.

WinSun has further demonstrated the efficacy of its technology — with a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre (11,840 square foot) villa, complete with decorative elements inside and out, on display at Suzhou Industrial Park.

The 3D printer array, developed by Ma Yihe, who has been inventing 3D printers for over a decade, stands 6.6 metres high, 10 metres wide and 40 metres long (20 by 33 by 132 feet). This fabricates the parts in large pieces at WinSun’s facility. The structures are then assembled on-site, complete with steel reinforcements and insulation in order to comply with official building standards.

This process saves between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste, and can decrease production times by between 50 and 70 percent, and labour costs by between 50 and 80 percent. In all, the villa costs around $161,000 to build.

By using recycled materials in this way, the buildings decrease the need for quarried stone and other materials — resulting in a construction method that is both environmentally forward and cost effective. Many countries from all over the world are now incorporating recycled materials into different buildings and constructions to help benefit the environment, like using plastic lumber for example. To do this, recycled plastic lumber is using plastic waste that is unusable in conventional recycling processes and so that is why many construction businesses decide to use it for new buildings so that it has a purpose. Along with the use of these recycled materials and 3D-printing, the environment is well on its way to becoming a more eco-friendly place.

WinSun has more 3D-printing projects in mind for the future, which include houses, bridges and skyscrapers.

Source: CNET