There seems to be no end to what additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, can build. One Minnesota man is stretching the limitations of the technology by building his very own affordable, custom home -- entirely made by 3D printing.
Andrey Rudenko of Minnesota is a contractor with a background in architecture and engineering. How is he putting his home-building knowledge to use? Put simply, he plans to create a 3D printer that is capable of building complete, high-quality homes out of concrete. Unlike the quick, simple, and cheap homes built in a matter of hours by Chinese 3D printers, Rudenko hopes to revolutionize the way we are building our homes.
Prototype wall made using Rudenko's 3D printer.
(Source: 3D Printing Industry)
It all begins with a giant 3D printer, made with the Arduino Mega 2560 based on RepRap. The filament is a mixture of cement and sand. Rudenko told 3D Printing Industry that he is still struggling with getting the printer to push out the thick filament at a high viscosity, but slow speed so it has enough time to dry. Regardless, his test runs have been fairly impressive to-date. Rudenko did not respond to interview requests from Design News in time for this story.
A video recently released on YouTube (watch is below) shows his improvised 3D printer building a double wall with adequate space in between for housing electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, and steel support structures. The plan is to build a two-story home in Minnesota, entirely made by his 3D printer.
Rudenko saw Chinese developers print 10 low-quality, one-story, cement cottages in one day using 3D printing, but wasn't impressed. The contractor said he is seeking to bring a high-quality, affordable, energy-efficient home to market, to change the residential construction industry forever. His hopes are set awfully high. After all, cheap or not, who wants to live in a ribbed cement box (other than Rudenko, of course)? Nonetheless, he is using his background in engineering to ensure that the homes he prints have function in-mind.
Rudenko said the 3D printer will be capable of building sturdy small or midsized homes on site. He plans to build complete homes that include the foundation, any necessary columns, interior walls, and hollow space between walls to accommodate plumbing, electrical wiring, and insulation.
While his current printer is capable of printing cement layers that are 20-mm-wide x 5-mm-high, he has his sights set on bigger things. He will need to perfect the high viscosity/low-speed printing problem, along with consideration of a heftier cement mix that can support a two-story building. To test the durability of his prints, he plans to make a 10m x 15m children's cement castle playhouse. It will allow for Rudenko to further analyze the feasibility of his cement dream.
Rudenko believes that relying on 3D printing for the future of residential construction will change the game. Only two builders will be required on site, and the machine does the rest. With the proper design and cement mixture, the possibilities are endless.