WinSun has proved it can meet a print deadline like no other. The Shanghai-based company put itself to the test and used its giant 3D printer by building 10 houses, each more than 200 square feet, in less than 24 hours in April. The homes are mainly made from recycled materials and cost less than US$5,000 each.
It’s the kind of cost efficiency that could make “printed houses” a trend in the construction industry. WinSun has already had an order from property developer SOHO China to print sales offices for the group. Wang Shi, chairman of top real estate firm Vanke, has also revealed his interest in using the 3D technology in the next three years.
WinSun’s printer is a 150-meter long, 10-meter wide and 6.6-meter high machine. The printer’s “ink” is a mix of cement and glass fiber extruded to create various building parts that are then assembled into a house, a video from China News Network shows.
Founder Ma Yihe said he spent 12 years coming up with the idea and there was a lot of trial and error before he hit on an ink mix that wouldn’t clog the machine. “We hardly know how many machines we threw away,” Ma said.
Ma is now so confident about his technology that he said “just give me a drawing and we can print it, whether it’s the CCTV Tower or Taipei 101″ .
WinSun president Wang Hong said the 3D printing technology could be a solution to China’s air pollution problems. “The cement, lime and sand used in traditional construction are major PM2.5 pollutants. The material that we use in 3D printing is not only an innovation, it is also environmentally friendly,” Wang said.
But how well will a printed house hold up on unstable ground?
Eju real estate research institute deputy president Yang Hongxu warned that WinSun still needs time to prove whether the homes are strong enough to resist earthquakes and other disasters.
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