The Rise of An Entire 3D-Printed Village: First in the World 1

The Rise of An Entire 3D-Printed Village: First in the World

3D Printed Shelters for Everyone

Yves Behar is a Swiss designer, entrepreneur and founder and principal designer of Fuseproject, an award-winning industrial design and brand development firm, and also co-founder of Canopy, a new co-working space based in San Francisco. He is teaming up with non-profit New Story, which builds homes and communities, to build a 3D printed concrete village in rural Latin America.

Where exactly is its intended location will be announced but the construction is set to happen by later this year, 2019. The homes are designed as affordable housing for local farmers and weavers. Behar is planning an entire community of houses that will show how 3D printing be used in rural and low-income areas.

House Details

The plan is that each house will measure 55m², with an outdoor kitchen and a garden. Because the environment, weather included, is challenging, the homes will have slanted roofs that protect from heavy rain, and reinforced walls that can withstand earthquakes. Rows of houses will have contrasting shades of color. Natural ventilation is provided by a border of patterned concrete bricks. The white concrete walls inside will be left exposed, but owners will be able to choose the color of their home’s exterior.

Early last year, Yves Béhar has launched a flexible prefab that capitalizes on planning laws designed to alleviate California’s housing crisis. The structures are called ADUs or accessory dwelling units designed from 23m² to 111m² (also known as ‘granny flats’). The updated legislation was introduced to allow homeowners to build these compact AUDs in their backyard.

It takes less than two months to build and install and is delivered plug-and-go ready. It’s also highly customizable and can be tweaked for its setting, including the shape of its roof line, interior floor plan, windows and interiors. Prices start from $280,000 for the standard model, though Béhar has plans to develop a ‘sub $100,000’ range in the future.

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What Material Is 3D Printed Houses Made Of?

Most Popular 3D-Printed Buildings and Their Material Mix

Massive 3D printers print massive 3D buildings. More and more companies are joining the market, 3D printing more and more homes. Do they use concrete? Whatever materials they are using to 3D print buildings what’s important is that the material used must blend design with adequate consistency and workability. For structural applications, this means a concrete base, consisting of cement, sand, and other additives, sometimes there are a few variants from the standard. The mix of components varies according to purpose and the 3D printer to be used. Here are some popular 3D printing construction projects and the materials used.

Worldwide 3D Printing Materials

For example, Apis Cor, a San-Francisco-based start-up makes mobile 3D printers that print self-supporting walls and partitions that use material extrusion technology. Their material mix consists of cement, sand, geopolymers, and fibers developed as extrudable concrete. Their 3D printer has an independent robotic arm which prints the structural components on-site. Once the walls were printed, they removed the printer with the help of a crane to install windows, appliances, and the roof. An example of their work is a residential home in Moscow, Russia – it took just 24 hours to complete.

Another start-up is COBOD which 3D printed the first building in Europe: The Building On Demand (BOD), located in Copenhagen. All its elements are curved, except for the windows and doors, and even the foundations were 3D printed. They developed a strong and sustainable concrete mix using recycled materials. The material delivery system consists of a mixing pump which automatically fills dry material mix from the mixer. Water is then added to the mix to keep the pump filled. In addition to 3D printing, they also use the printer as an on-site “crane” to place certain elements into the building.

WASP is an Italian start-up looking to provide 3D printed sustainable shelters at minimum costs using naturally available local materials. They 3D printed the new eco-sustainable house, the Gaia. Their material mix consisted of soil, rice fibers and lime. They mixed this material thoroughly in a wet pan mill then extruded with the Crane WASP 3D printer. They printed a monolithic wall and finished with a shaving clay lamina and smoothed and oiled with linseed oils. The machine is a frame based gantry setup that prints the structural components in shorter lead times.

A China-based company, Winsun, developed its own construction 3D printer to print large scale building components at high speeds. They were able to 3D print ten houses within 24 hours. They build the structural components using a 120 x 40 x 20 feet frame based 3D printer. Components are generally printed in a factory, then transported and assembled on-site. Their mix consists of cement, sand, and fiber, along with a few additives to improve the buildability. Their mix produces zero waste and is also environment-friendly.



3D-Printing Complex Bio-Organs: The Lungs

3D Printing Parts That Breathe

3D bioprinting body organs may now look doable as advances in technology make mention those parts that have seen printing already – eyes, skin, heart, bone, among others. However, the more challenging aspect is how to print artificial versions of the body’s complex vascular networks, which mimic our natural passageways for blood, air, lymph, and other vital fluids.

Of late, scientists from the Rice’s Brown School of Engineering have already successfully printed the complex vasculature that can supply nutrients to densely populated tissues, such as the lungs. The team is the first to develop bioprinting technology that addresses the challenge of multivascularization in a direct and comprehensive way. They know that the vascular networks, like the lung’s blood vessels and airways, and the bile ducts and liver blood vessels are interpenetrating networks. They are physically and biochemically entangled, and their architecture is intimately related to tissue function.

SLATE, which stands for “stereolithography apparatus for tissue engineering”, was developed by the scientists which prints one layer at a time from a liquid pre-hydrogel solution which, when exposed to light, solidifies. They tested a lung-mimicking structure, complete with airways and blood vessels, that held up to recreate the breathing process.

What is the impact of creating functional tissue replacements in the medical field?

For one it is a high scientific priority because of its potential impact on organ donations. In the US alone there is a shortage of organ donors; at least more than a hundred thousand patients are on the transplant waiting list. Furthermore, there is the danger of organ rejection for even a successful transplant procedure. Bioprinted organs should be able to address the shortage of organs and the risk of organ rejection.

Reprinting human organs has other potential uses apart from as transplants. Scientists are using 3D printed organs to better understand how they are affected by cancer.


3D Printing Possibilities in Seattle

While 3D printing bio-organs are the next best possibility in some future time, our team at 3D Composites Seattle can be approached for your other immediate 3D printing needs. Contact us and let’s talk ideas.

old shoe

The Advent of the 3D Printed Material That Repairs Itself

Self-Healing Materials: The Correct Mix

Out of the University of Southern California (USC) researchers have developed a 3D printed rubber material that has the ability to repair itself. The rubber material, an elastomer, is able to potentially decrease manufacturing time and increase longevity for shoes, tires, soft robotics and electronics. The self-healable materials were 3D printed using a customized photopolymerization process. Photopoly- merization is a technique that uses light (visible or ultraviolet; UV) to initiate and propagate a polymerization reaction. It is a practical approach to produce micrometer sized 3D structures. In this process laser light excitation hardens an appropriate photopolymer.

The researchers say that self-healing and polymerization are two different behaviors. There is actually a competition between the two, but the researchers were eventually able to find the ratio that can enable both high self-healing and relatively rapid photopolymerization.

This research focuses on the photopolymerization reaction of the alcohol-analogous thiol chemical group present in the rubber materials. An oxidizer was added to the process which transformed the thiols into a different group of chemicals called disulfides. The new chemicals have the ability to reform when broken, enabling self-healing. However, when they gradually increase the oxidant, the self-healing behavior becomes stronger, but the photopolymerization behavior becomes weaker.

Healing Time & Temperature

Part of the research is a study where the material’s ability to heal on a range of rubber products. The different items were cut in half, and after 2 hours, at 60 degrees Celsius, the products were able to heal completely. The repair time is variable depending on the temperature. Under different temperatures – from 40 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius – the material can heal to almost 100 percent.

There have been studies on self-healing materials that are 3D-printable. There’s the conductive self-healing hydrogel developed at the University of Manitoba; it came from chitosan, which is found in the shells of crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans. At the University of Melbourne, a team found that synthetic benzaldehyde, typically obtained by extraction from cinnamon oil, was a key ingredient to developing a 3D printable healing gel. From the University of South Carolina a study was published titled Additive Manufacturing of Self-healing Elastomers about self-healing materials.


3D-Printable Ideas in Seattle

If you’ve got an idea and you think it’s printable, contact our team at 3D Composites. Possibilities are endless.

People inside building

The World’s First 3D Printed Meeting Space

Not Your Typical Meeting Space

If you are somewhere in Amsterdam and looking for a meeting place, we know just where you can find one. And it’s totally 3D printed. The building will be called De Vergaderfabriek, Dutch for “the Meeting Factory.” The structure is 1,000-square-foot but was originally supposed to be bigger and taller. It isn’t ready yet for occupancy, but it will be soon.

The Meeting Factory is located near a small airport and was designed to look like the rotating blades of a jet engine. The walls are curved to create a sense of equality and safety that will enhance communication. Those who will use the room or the “tent’ as they like to call it, will be able to choose from different 360-degree video projections set to their specified music. It’s not going to be a room with bare walls. There will be 12 ribbed walls in total.

The builders created a specific type of mortar that hardens within a day and that won’t shrink, expand, or collapse. They developed special algorithms to the double-curved walls, pre-researched to determine if they were feasible.

Those who operated the printer, controller, and mixing device were deep in concentration as they have only one chance to get it right. They prepared and checked everything – the temperature, the consistency of the material, the location of the wall, the electricity and water – before they finally press the button to go. There were many regulations to hurdle in order that a structure, just a hundred square meters in size, would be built.

How long did the construction of the Meeting Factory take? It was expected to take 10 days but it took a few more days longer. It is expected to finish imminently. It wasn’t the goal to do it as fast as possible. It was more important to do it right. In any case, the whole process will be much faster and cheaper next time. Several houses are set to be 3D-printed later this year in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, and the creators of the Meeting Factory believe 3D printing will become a reasonably standard building method within a short time.


Buildings of the Future to Rise in Seattle

While it might take a while for 3D printed structures to be common in key cities in the US, your 3D printing company in Seattle looks to the future that someday soon 3D printed buildings will change the landscape of city life.