In its latest 3D printing feat, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering constructed a five-story apartment block and an 11,840 square-foot (1,100 square-meter), residence, which cost $161,000 to construct. What the company claims are the world’s tallest 3D-printed building and the world’s first 3D-printed large residence are currently on display in China’s Suzhou Industrial Park in the eastern Jiangsu province.
WinSun creates CAD drawings for sections of the building, which it prints in its factory with layers of a paste comprised of glass fiber, steel, cement, hardening agents, and recycled construction waste. The modules' tiered construction allows the structure to be flexible, self-insulating, and respond better to seismic activity. The 12-year-old company assembles the building segments into the final product on site.
The printer, which measures 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide, and 132 feet long, is “the world’s first continuous printing 3D printer and largest 3D house printer,” according to WinSun CEO Ma Yihe, 3ders.org reports. The company claims that the technology can reduce the volume of building materials used, while shortening production time and saving on labor costs.
This month, WinSun announced signed contracts with partners worldwide and says it plans to expand its 3D-printing construction services. The residence is the prototype for a set of ten that has been ordered by Taiwanese real estate company Tomson Group Limited and a third single-story house on display at Suzhou Industrial Park was one of 20,000 units ordered by the Egyptian government.
The company announced partnerships with an unnamed American company, reports Global Construction Review, to set up 3D printing factories globally and provide affordable housing; Nile Sand Material Technology to establish 12 desert factories within two years that use a sand 3D printer developed by WinSun; and China Railway 24th Bureau Group to build five factories in China, Mexico, and Russia.
Last year, WinSun demonstrated its ability fabricate rapidly via 3D printing by turning out 10 single-room houses in under 24 hours—all for about $4,800 each. The company's recent developments and new partnerships indicate efforts to make 3D printed construction affordable, accessible, and customized by and for the masses.
For more on projects by WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, check out Aaron Betsky’s column on the future of 3D printing in the construction industry.