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Big Delta, a 40-foot Tall 3D Printer, Aims to Build Houses

3d cad servicesAn Italian company has taken 3D printing to new extremes, building a 40 foot tall, 20 foot wide 3D printer to construct houses. World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) built the printer to create low cost housing using locally sourced eco-friendly materials like dirt or clay. It’s an experimental project but it could lead to developments in 3D printing that could make it a reality.

The gigantic printer, which was named Big Delta, was debuted recently at a three-day event that included workshops and conferences leading up to a reveal of the printer.

The massive scale 3D printer works just like any other 3D printer, using the same 3D CAD services, but it dispenses clay rather than resin. It has huge metal frames that support the nozzle, which is connected to a computer. The nozzle moves in a circular pattern adding layers of clay to the structure. The clay is added layer by layer until the project is completed, using very little energy.

If the development of this printer gets off the ground, it could mean changes in how we help people in developing nations. Low cost housing could be provided to people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it. According to WASP’s website, in the next 15 years there will be 100,000 houses needed each day for lower income people across the world. The company has plans in the works to add insect repellent to its walls, which would prove valuable in areas that have a high risk of health problems due to mosquitoes.

It would also come in handy during natural disasters. When tornadoes or earthquakes wipe out homes, they could provide affordable, temporary housing that can be quickly and easily constructed on-site.

The company’s aim is to create a new economic model that moves production from being available to just a few to being accessible to everyone using advances in technology. They want people to not have to be dependent on larger entities that control the monopoly on production.  They call it the “maker economy.”

They believe that everyone should be able to have a home, food and good health. Their ultimate goal is to be able to build a home using a printer like Big Delta and materials that were sourced locally. Then they want to be able to provide a vertical 3D printer garden that uses hydroponic culture in order to grow produce in environments that are less than ideal for crops. The third element would be a shop where everyone could have access to a 3D printer so that everyone can be involved in the production of items for their neighborhood or village.

Big Delta is not the first large scale 3D printer. In China, a construction company used a similar printer to build modular homes. In the same vein, an Amsterdam design firm used robots to construct a 3D-printed bridge over the Amsterdam Canal and another firm is attempting to build a 3D-printed house.

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