WinSun: 3D Printed Homes From Waste Building Materials

Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has demonstrated the construction of homes using an industrial 3D printer by building ten single story homes in less than one day. The houses cost $5,000 to build.

The motivation of the CEO Ma Yihe is to make good use of industrial waste products to protect the environment and to make it possible for houses to be built quickly and cheaply in villages in China. Using recycled industrial waste making it safer for workers and reducing the cost of construction.

The company has taken twelve years to design and build its own custom-made 3D printer which is 6.6m tall by 32m long. The printer uses cement, glass fibre and materials recovered from industrial building waste to build up the houses layer by layer.

Provision is made for plumbing, electrics and insulation which are installed after the main construction process.

On the 18th of January 2015, WinSun announced that they had 3D printed a five storey house and also a 3D printed villa. These are the largest structures yet built using 3D printing.

The villa has a floor area of 1,100m2 and is completely decorated internally and externally. It was designed and built for the Taiwanese property company Tomson Group. The villa cost more than 1 million yuan. A further ten villas have been pre-ordered.

They attribute their success to their self-designed 3D printer and its special “ink”. The buildings were printed with a mixture of recycled construction waste, glass fibre, cement and chemical additives.

The printer itself is larger than that used to print the single-storey houses. It measures 6.6 by 10 by 150 metres. The larger size means that printing efficiency has increased by a factor of ten.

Advantages quoted of 3D printing include:

  • 30-60% material savings
  • 50-70% shorter production time
  • 50-80% reduced labour costs
  • A safer and cleaner working environment

WinSun envisages that many different types of structures can be 3D printed including bridges and office buildings. The technology also allows for individualisation of the building’s design.

Although the houses have been built to meet standard building standards, Ma Rongquan – who is the chief engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau – believes that there should in future be specific standards for 3D printing of buildings.

Looking forward WinSun have announced that they are planning to collaborate with Nile Sand Material Technology Co. LTD on a project to set up twelve “Dream Factories” which will use desert sand to build such structures as walls to control desertification.

WinSun has also plans to expand globally and set up factories in the middle east, United States, Mexico, Russia and a further twenty countries. The first 3D printers for export are already for shipping.