Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Digitally Fabricated World

By Don Olsen

Issue 8  - 3D Printing a 5 Story Building
By: Don Olsen
Welcome back everyone. Over the break I was looking around at random 3D printing news and came across an article about a company that has been talked about in a previous blog article last semester . WinSun is a company  from China, last year they were able to successfully 3D print 10 small houses in 24 hours. This time they have decided to take that technology to new heights by printing a 11,840 sq ft, five story apartment building seen in figure 1. The WinSun company is proving that their technology is something that can be utilized in a number of different ways and now at a larger scale. Just as an observation the building is not half bad to look at either as they made sure to make the building aesthetically pleasing beyond the buildings functionality both inside and out. Now I know what you're thinking, how big does the printer that made that building have to be? Well the printer used to print this apartment building is 20' high x 33'wide x 132' long that is a serious printer. The printer itself uses a mixture of concrete, glass, industrial waste, tailings, and a quick drying cement to print each layer of the building. A wall example can be better seen in figure 3. All of the pieces of the building are printed at the WinSun facilities then assembled on site. There are some reasons for this. A few of these being that the machinery never has to move, the materials will have a stable environment to cure in before being shipped off to be built, and the printer itself in this method never have to be bigger than what you are trying to print. The last advantage is an important one. Most of the first talks about 3D printing a large structure revolved around how to make the printer move around what is being printed. WinSun has eliminated that issue by printing the parts in one location and assembling in another, thus removing the need to make the printer move around. This simplify the process while still achieving the same results.  When it's all said and done, WinSun has produced a building that saved between 30-60% construction waste, 50-70% production time, and 50-80% labor costs. The numbers are fairly staggering the entire building cost a grand total of $161,000 to produce. Another completed picture can be seen in figure 2. The company currently has plans to try and build a small skyscraper, and bridge with this technology and see where it goes. In my opinion I think they have a strong plan with a strong product that will lead to bigger things. Feel free to check out their website listed below most of it is in Chinese but there is some English tabs to help navigate. Well until next time keep fabricating.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Photo Credits  to: Caixin -
Information:                                                                                  constructed-in-china/

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