"Created by Italian 3D printer company WASP, the giant, three-armed printer was demonstrated at Maker Faire Rome last week.
While there are already 3D printers out there that can rapidly build houses, this model is unique as it can be assembled on site within two hours, and then filled with mud and fibre to construct extremely cheap dwellings in some of the most remote places on Earth.
WASP CEO Massimo Moretti explained to Make:, the magazine that produces the faire, that this allows developers to work more closely with natural forms, rather than the square-shaped block homes that common brick dwellings are made from.
The mud that goes inside the printer first needs to be mixed with another natural fibre, such as wool, to help bind it together, creating a grainy paste that can then be squeezed out into the desired shape, sort of as though you were icing a cake.
Although they may not look like much, these homes can be up to three metres high, and when dry create a tough and sustainableshelter for people in rural or impoverished areas. Instead of traditional foundations, the ones created by the WASP printer at the Maker Faire Rome used cleverly designed layers of the mud mixture to make the walls strong.
“While no plans are officially in place, Moretti states that the first WASP house may occur next year in Sardinia, due to the availability of wool, used as a fibrous binder in the printer’s mud, for the project,” writes Mike Sense for Make:."
This is very intriguing. I'm not interested in 3D printing my main home, but I'm very interested in using it to build animal shelters, and even temporary human shelters if we begin to acquire larger tracts of land. Building out of mud & wool and without foundations could avoid having to go through permitting processes and the need to build roads.
3D printers still blow my mind. I just can't quite comprehend them yet.. I've watched tons of youtube videos about them and I just still can't quite understand the way it works! This is really crazy cool stuff though. Wow. I thought building a wrench with a 3D printer was cool! haha
Just heard about this at a gathering, it seems really useful in certain ways:
1) let's say you want to do adobe/cob construction but don't have a large community with available time to work on it for a period of several months--well, you sic your 3d printer on the task, it puts down a layer, goes into power-save mode, waits for it to dry, spritzes it with water if it's drying too fast and in danger of cracking, then a week later puts down another layer, etc.
2) it would create shelters for people trying to transition from the city to the country so they'd have a place to move into
3) it could help places like old abandoned mill towns to revitalize without needing to attract standard developers whose goals would be more profit-oriented and, usually, less about planet and people.
1) It needs a steady power source--would PV be enough? a gas generator?
2) cost of building the printer--ecological cost and monetary--I don't know, didn't see info on WASP's site
3) would it work in absolutely any situation/climate/context?
4) doesn't build community the way communal natural building does (requiring people to work together, and to slow down).
What do you think?
Next question, how does this compare to Open Source Ecology's thingy that spits out bricks?
From what I know, the latter would be useful and fast, and the only drawback is you still have to put the bricks together, and that can take a lot of labor and time. The cost of the machine also I Think would be much lower than the printer. What do others think?
Community Building 2.0: ask me about drL, the rotational-mob-grazing format for human interactions.
They were once referred to as "Rapid Prototype" for small one-off plastic parts Designers could have on their desk the same day to get a touchy freely for the design. There were limitations on materials to brittle ABS, PVC, few other plastic grades. Now they have advanced to what is called "Fused Deposition Modeling" some with fiber reinforcement and stronger materials depending on the manufacture of the machine. Alot of the parts in your interior car and in aircraft interiors are FDM. I designed a production HVAC defrost duct that was able to take the pressures. The main issues are since it is laid down like spaghetti the way you "grow" the part and the strength of materials is critical. If growing it vertically like a home, the weakest area is at the horizontal plane between the spaghetti strands. In a seismic or wind event if that plane or bond line fails the upper wall crashes in. A house grown horizontal would be better for lateral forces, not easy. I think that is why the COB I have seen they are trying to lighten it with a truss design, for insulation infill but there is still thermal bridging. The ejector head would freeze in cold climates if water is used. Time will tell. If they can use a carbon fiber, fiberglass, or bassalt fiber reinforced design in a strong binder laid on mesh between the laps that would be much stronger than COB and more promising in any climate.