You know how whenever you look at the back (or under) most of the things in your household, there is a small label that says "made in China"? Well, this may soon become a reality for the apartment buildings or houses we live in. True enough, it may be a bit harder to look under them to check, but while Western companies were busy competing in architectural designs, the Chinese have done it: WinSun has constructed the first 3D-printed apartment building in the world which is displayed at the Suzhou Industrial Park.
The edifice is four stories high and occupies a surface of 1,110 square meters (11,840 square feet). The printer that erected it used a mixture of quick drying cement and a hardening agent for the base, while the rest was made from a blend of regular construction materials and recycled waste, such as glass and tailings. According to the company that built it, the overall construction price was approximately $161,000. I'm not a specialist in the field, so I actually don't know how much this construction would cost with traditional methods, but according to other magazines this process isn't only environmentally forward but also cost effective. 3D printing reduces the cost for labor 50% to 80%, decreases the construction time by 50% to 70% and the materials waste is lessened by 30% to 60%.
WinSun, the company that made this wonder possible, claims that by using its proprietary 3D printer it was able to create 10 houses in 24 hours. Invented by Ma Yihe, the device is 6.6 meters high (21.7 feet), 40 meters long, (131 feet) and 10 meters wide (32.8 feet). The printer array creates the parts at the facility, and these are assembled on-site, complete with insulation and steel reinforcements. The printed walls are hollow and include zigzagging patterns in order to provide more strength and offer room for insulation.