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Environment/Science Last Updated: Jan 14, 2020 - 12:07:47 PM

D-Shape 3D printer can print full-sized houses
By Jan Belezina
Dec 31, 2012 - 11:08:53 PM

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D-Shape 3D printer can print full-sized houses


February 24, 2012

Enrico Dini of Monolite UK with Radiolaria - the biggest structure ever built by the D-Sha...

Enrico Dini of Monolite UK with Radiolaria - the biggest structure ever built by the D-Shape 3D printer

Image Gallery (8 images)

The growing popularity of 3D printers, such as the Printbot or MakerBot's Thing-o-Matic, testify to the fact that additive manufacturing is slowly entering the mainstream. The devices are now small enough to fit on a desk and they can make all sorts of stuff, such as toys, chess figures, or spare door knobs. But what if you want to make something slightly bigger - say, a house? Then you need to turn to Enrico Dini, the founder of Monolite UK and the inventor of the D-Shape "robotic building system."

The D-Shape is potentially capable of printing a two story building - complete with stairs, partition walls, columns, domes, and piping cavities - using only ordinary sand and an inorganic binder. The resulting material is said to be indistinguishable from marble, and exhibits the same physical properties, with durability highly superior to that of masonry and reinforced concrete.

The building process is very close to what we'd expect of a huge 3D printer. A nozzle moves along a pre-programmed path, extruding a liquid adhesive compound on a bed of sand with a solid catalyst mixed in. The binding agent reacts with the catalyst, and the solidifying process begins. Meanwhile, the remaining sand serves to support the structure. Then, another layer of sand is added and the whole process is repeated. Since it's computer assisted, no specialist knowledge is required to use the printer. All that's needed is a CAD design file.

The desired structure is erected in a single work session, starting from the bottom up. The solidification process takes 24 hours to complete, but subsequent layers, 5-10 mm in thickness, may be added without delay. The annual output of the current model of D-Shape is estimated at 2,500 square meters (26,910 sq ft), which is equal to 12 two-story buildings. Reportedly, the building process takes a quarter of the time required to build an equivalent structure with traditional means.

D-Shape 3D printer in action

The time gap widens in the case of structures with custom shapes. Traditionally, Portland cement is used to achieve concave or convex forms. The process is extremely time-consuming, as it often involves manual casting, intricate scaffolding, and other steps. D-Shape, by contrast, can handle such designs just as quickly as it handles regular walls.

This all sounds very promising. However, since the inventors themselves haven't yet managed to print a proper house using their machine, we expect it may take some time for this technology to prove itself. Still, it seems like it already has a lot to offer, especially to those who value creativity over practicality.

Once it's ready, be sure to watch the documentary by Marc Webb and Jack Wake Walker titled The Man Who Prints Houses. As you can see on the teaser below, It puts Dini's efforts to revolutionize the construction industry into a broader perspective.

Source: Monolite UK via The Verge


3D Printing New Body Parts. See:

Scientists develop 3D tissue printer that prints cartilage. See:

NASA 3D prints rocket parts — with steel, not plastic. See:

New Patent Aims to Prevent 3D Printers From Creating “Restricted Items”. See:

5 Key Ways That 3D Printers Could Improve the World. See:

The New MakerBot Replicator Might Just Change Your World. See:

Monopolist Regulation Behind Wikiweapon 3D Printer Repossession. See:

3D Printed Drones & Guns: Post Scarcity & The World of Tomorrow. See:

3D Printed Homes? Here’s The Scoop. See:

The end of the builder? The giant 3D printer that could create a HOUSE in 24 hours. see:

The portable 3D printer that fits in a briefcase. See:

The world’s first 3D-printed gun. See:

Future of Construction Process: 3D Concrete Printing. See:

Pentagon Fears Global Technological Progress. See:

Solar Cells Printed On Paper. See:

Chinese companies mass producing fake rice out of plastic. See:

The wild possibilities of printing food. See:

First Generation Replicator Technology - 3D Colour Printers. See:

Top DNA Researcher Says Patenting Human Genes is "Lunacy". See:

How the Patenting System is used to negate 'Free Energy' Developments and Technology Innovation. See:

Copyright law is just another brick in the wall of the artificially created competitive, dog eat dog world. See:

Patents on chimpanzees, sperm cells and human genes. See:

Copyright free Europe? EU parliamentary committee calls for 'sharing without intellectual property rights'. See:

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