Building using 3D printing

Since a while I have been following this quite interesting issue of building using the technology 3D printing but it was after I have discovered WordPress that I started my blog of different topics related Human Habitat, after a time I decided to merge this blog with current one related Cement News (quite appropriate I would say) then you will find a lot of posts from my former blog called materials for Human Habitat, and also I wanted to relaunch this topic now under the umbrella of cement news making a war up of this, relevant and key topic that is reshaping the way to build in the world and also in other worlds

In the following link, you will be able to find a more complete

In 2006, researcher Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California’s pb_house_woods-removed-croppedInformation Sciences Institute (in the Viterbi School of Engineering) was the first one to start a project that uses a computer-controlled crane or gantry to build edifices rapidly and efficiently with substantially less manual labor, the Contour crafting concept has born, Caterpillar Inc. provided funding to help support Viterbi project research in the summer of 2008 and in 2009, Singularity University graduate students established the ACASA project with Khoshnevis as the CTO to commercialize Contour Crafting. After that CC has followed its own path in parallel to other efforts in the same direction.

Initial CC technology used portland cement as the basis for the mortar used to create the building shapes (walls, ceiling,..) but also with a similar proposal using different materials started to be developed, here some examples:

MIT build a CC prototype using polyurethane and a spray nozzle.

In 2014, a Dutch firm (DUS Architect) set out to demonstrate the potential for 3D printed architecture, by building a canal house out of 3D printed plastic in Amsterdam

In 2015, the Dutch 3D Printing firm MX3D began printing a full-scale steel bridge, to be installed in downtown Amsterdam

In June 2016, Chinese company Hua Shang Tengda announced that it had constructed an 570x310-printed-houseentire concrete mansion in 45 days

In April 2016, another Chinese company claimed to have printed 10 houses in 24 hours. The walls are constructed from a mix of recycled construction material and cement

The  Stroybot2 technology, a Minnesota-based company a more advanced, faster, lighter, and user-friendly 3D Concrete Printing machine, developed in 2014, it was completed the construction of a Castle demonstration project  in 2016 and in the Philippines’ Lewis Grand Hotel is home to the world’s first-ever operational commercial structure created using 3D-concrete printing technology by Andrey Rudenko and his team. The 3D-Printed hotel suite measures 10.5 meters by 12.5 meters with a height of 4 meters and includes two bedrooms, a living room, and a Jacuzzi room with a giant 3D-Printed Jacuzzi. Printing was completed on September 20th, 2015.

As you have seen since 2016 more demonstrations of commercial applications of building using 3D printing has been launched but just recently a couple of promising proposals were developed….

In 2018 Arup y CLS Architects presented the first house printed in 3D in the past Salone del Mobile in Milan, one of the most acclaimed and visited facilities. It is called 3D Housing 05 is sustainable, easy to move and are built in 48 hours. The material used mortar-concerto Portland cement base, these firms were advised by the Italcementi Group

The academics of the University of Nantes developed a project they said is the first house built in situ to be inhabited by humans, the process was possible by using a 3D printing robot known as BatiPrint3D, using a special non-based material in cement and it took about 18 days to complete its part of the work, creating hollow walls that were later filled with concrete for thermal insulation

For me, the most advanced commercial offer is the one from the Russian company that xnczd30w3ulj8roxbuilt the first house printed using mobile 3D printing technology in Stupino town, Moscow region. The Apis Cor and PIK companies have successfully completed the project which was announced in December 2016. They used geopolymer cement s base for the concrete mix and using same spray nozzle principle, they claim that it is possible to build a house in 24 hrs


A special mention shall be done of a concrete Colombian company Conconcreto that has built the first demo house using 3D printing

What is beyond

The building applications of this technology are expanding from the housing in a fast and affordable way, shelters in disasters, urban inner cities construction and space colonization, but for that last application I would tell about the current development is ignoring a basic fact required to building in the space: there is no water out there,….

At the beginning of studying space colonisation a cementitious material called regolith was developed or better known as lunar cement or “concrete”, it was proposed in the University of Pittsburgh in 1985, that used the same principles of hydration of a cementitious material produced in situ for moon rocks, that means imply the use of water, almost immediately the issues arise due to water use starting with the availability of water, the fact the hydration is not spontaneous but requires a certain time for casting and also the difficulties to manage water in a different atmosphere with zero gravity and low atmospheric pressure, causing the quick evaporation of water or its immediate freezing because the quote below zero (Celsius)  temperatures. Then at same time an alternative proposal to produce concrete arose: produce concrete melting Sulfur, or the called Sulfur concrete, an option that solves the hydration matter but it came with other issues like availability of sulfur or gypsum in the soil of the planet, and the way of heating the material to develop a molten matrix where aggregates are blended to build shapes like walls, ceiling,..

In  terms of the Regolith cement latest improvement were proposed to reduce water consumption and have a more robust hydration synthesis based on the geopolymer cementitious technology and also the sintering of regolith matrices using laser or microwave to melt the regolith soil and produce a solid structure, that is the case of the SinterHab is a design concept of a habitat  module at the lunar south pole that is being developed in the Open University, Milton Keynes in UK, this concept is proposing to integrate the use of 3D printing to produce the sintered forms in situ.

At a last but not at least I would like to mention one of these scientific curiosities dezeen_the-solar-sinter-by-markus-kayser_01developed in lab based in 3D printing and using concentrated solar power to melt sand and sinter it producing shapes, in 2011 the German designer Markus Kayser has built a 3D-printing machine that uses sunlight and sand to make glass objects in the desert.


dezeen_the-solar-sinter-by-markus-kayser_07This last innovative proposal contain the element to leverage space the solution of the building during  colonization but also has some potentials not yet fully evaluated that with the scarcity of water and renewable resources, could represent a very sustainable way to build


One of the latest news about building using 3d printing and CSP,….

The RegoLigth Project…

3D printing technologies and methodologies

Hope you have enjoyed this review of this interesting and key technology for the future of the building industry