World’s tallest 3D-printed structure revealed in China

A Chinese engineering and design firm has revealed the world’s highest 3D-printed building - a five-storey housing apartment block made from reused construction resources.

The building was built by the Shanghai-based company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering. The company's impressive custom-built 3D printer cost approximately US$2.3 million and took the firm 12 years to manufacture. It measures 6.6 metres high, 10 metres wide and around 150 metres long - and somewhat just like it may very well print your upcoming home.  

The machine works by printing, layer by layer, large units of structures (such as wall panels) using an “ink” prepared from a combination of fibreglass, steel, cement, hardening agents and reused construction supplies. These units are then assembled on location, much like prefabricated concrete, to make the final structure. 

According to the firm’s website, their 3D-printed walls are around 50% lighter than concrete walls, but have “much greater strength and durability”. It also says they won’t crack, that they have durable waterproofing, as well as better air penetrability and heat holding compared to walls prepared from "common construction materials".    

In addition to their housing building, the company at the same time revealed a 1,100-square-metre 3D-printed manor, which cost a projected US$160,000. It’s the first of 10 that have been pre-ordered by a big Taiwanese property group.

As the group at ArchDaily reports, “the two buildings represent new frontiers for 3D-printed construction, finally demonstrating its potential for creating more traditional building typologies and therefore its suitability for use by mainstream developers”. 

In a press session, stated on by, the Principal engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau, Ma Rongquan said: “These two houses are in full compliance with the relevant national standards. It is safe, reliable, and features a good integration of architecture and decoration. But as there is no specific national standard for 3D printing architecture, we need to revise and improve such a standard for the future.”

WinSun earned international consideration in April 2014 when it built 10 single story homes from 3D-printed resources in less than 24 hours, with each structure costing less than US$5,000.  

“Such a new type of 3D-printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective,“ the firm’s CEO Ma Yihe expressed to the International Business Times at the time.  

"Industrial leftover from wrecked buildings is harmful for our environment, but with 3D printing, we are able to reutilize construction leftovers and turn it into new building materials, “said Ma.”This would produce much safer surroundings for construction workers and significantly reduce construction expenses."

And the firm, which at present holds approximately 100 patents, has lofty goals to keep promoting 3D buildings. As report, over the next three years they will be making up factories in more than 20 countries, comprising Qatar, Morocco, Tunisia and the US, and will also be introducing a sand-based 3D printer.    

One of the first scientists to conceptualise how 3D printing joined with robotics might primarily change the construction industry was Behrokh Khoshnevis, an all-around engineer at the University of Southern California. 

His work on contour crafting (sketched in the video below) holds big possibility for developing inexpensive housing, and has gathered interest from NASA as a means to help build future space colonies.

Source: ScienceAlert

3-d Printers



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