Technology

May 1, 2017

As if by magic

It looks like a figurative expression: "houses grow like mushrooms", but it will soon become literal. In February, 2017, in Russia, appeared the first house with 38 m2 area. The house grew up within 24 hours in the town of Stupino, Moscow region, and it was whole-printed by the means of the 3D technology, without being necessary to assemble it. 

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The whole building cost approximately ten thousand dollars along with the finishings. In the long term perspective, the Russian company Apis Cor, the author of the project, plans to work, not on printing houses, but selling the 3D printers for their construction.

This amazing printer, with design reminding of a tower crane, was developed by the company Apis Cor, headed by Nikita Chan-Yung-Tai. During construction the printer can be located both outside and inside buildings to be printed. To better demonstrate the capabilities of this device, the builders chose an extraordinary configuration for the house, - when looking from the height, its form resembles a three-bladed fan.

A house, being constructed with the help of this fantastic printer, may be of any shape, including of an ordinary square one and the additive construction technology is only limited by the laws of physics. The device weighing 2,5 tons allows to erect up to 100 square meters of dwellings per day. The printing process is automated to the maximum and almost eliminates the risk of human error. Thus, we can say that we are on the verge of a stunning breakthrough in the sphere of, not only technological, but also architectural solutions in construction.

The only difficulty in the construction of houses is weather conditions - the winter in Russia is pretty cold. Although the equipment is designed to work at minus 35 degrees Celsius, the concrete mixture that is used as the "ink", maintains its performance at the minimum lowest possible temperature of five degrees. However, this problem has also been successfully solved by Russian builders: the place of construction was covered by a tent, providing the proper temperature regime regulation. Soon, a solution for printing houses during any season of the year will be found.

The Apis Cor management underlines that this is the first house printed directly on site, rather than assembled from blocks pre manufactured by other enterprises. The specificity of the mobile 3D printing device developed by the company and the one of mixing and feed of compositions systems (taking less than an hour), has guaranteed the successfull 24-hour implementation of such a challenging project. Installation of such elements as windows and some other details was carried out manually by builders. After the termination of printing of the walls constructions, the printer was removed from the building with a help of a crane-manipulator.

The interior of the printed house is pretty much the same as any usual one: the 38 m2 are distributed among the kitchen (4 m2), the bathroom (5 m2), the hall (6,5 m2) and the rest of the area is occupied by the room and the corridor.

Apis Cor, has invited as partners to the project five companies, internationally known for their innovative approaches: one of the leading Russian public developers, the group Peak; the world leader manufacturer of high-tech equipment Samsung Electronics co., Ltd., which proposed for this project its high-tech appliances, including a TV set with the same radius of curvature with that of a wall of the house; the largest international manufacturer of effective building materials, TechnoNicol Corporation, developed the innovative isolation solutions for the project which, in the future, are likely to be automated; the German company Bitex Reibeputz, which provided unique finishing materials for the project; and the "Fabrica Okon", company which supplied the innovative thermo-windows with climate control for the three windows of the house.

On the manufacturer's website they explain the economic benefits of their technology: "for the reason that the printer prints self-supporting walls and partitions, it allows to save on erecting buildings boxes up to 70%, compared to when the traditional construction techniques are applied, such as the blocking method - mind that each unit has to be spread and aligned. Besides the necessary equipment, tools need to be brought to the construction site, replaced when broken, the materials have to be transported and the builders have to be controlled. Often there arouses a risk of human error and completion of standard cottage on average takes up to two months."

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