Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Opinion: A "3D printed" villa from China. Perfect for Florida swampland?

Canadian Contractor

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The hype about “3D printing” has hit our industry.

Well, it has in China, anyway.

Less than a year after the first “3D printed” houses were unveiled in Shanghai, it seems that those were only “small” examples of this new technology (about 2,000 sq.ft. each).


Now, the same company, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., has unveiled a villa, and an apartment building, that it “printed” from the concrete-hybrid-squirting jet nozzles in its “printer.”

Some printer. This thing is 150 metres long, 10 metres wide, and 6.6 metres tall!

The concrete-hybrid material that forms these incredible structures (I use the world incredible advisedly – this stuff is monumentally not credible as a business opportunity) is made of “recycled construction waste, glass fiber, steel, cement and ‘special additives.’ ”

This strange “ink” being Chinese, of course, and having such a high element of “waste” material in it, you don’t think there are health hazards, do you? No, neither do I. Nah. Don’t worry about it.

The villa pictured “cost,” according to WinSun, $161,000 US.

I don’t believe that either. The actual cost, given the technology investments over a decade, has to be astronomical.

But this was all announced at a press conference featuring interested investors. And pumped out onto the internet for everyone to, as we have (guilty!), repost and link to and forward and embed, etc.

I am hoping that these 3D printed houses come with 3D printed pontoons to stop them sinking into the 3D Florida marshland that is the only conceivable place they would seem appropriate here in North America.

If you think I’m being too cynical, read the online propaganda here.

Comments welcome. No WinSun LoseSun jokes. I already thought of that one.



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2 Comments » for Opinion: A "3D printed" villa from China. Perfect for Florida swampland?
  1. As a tech enthusiast, I have to agree that this is definitely the “stuff of the future.” I would be very interested in seeing news about someone trying to bring this to Canada. I can just see the Toronto Building Department tearing that crazy architect a new “you know what” over their attempt to rewrite the ENTIRE structural building code in one pass. If it performs as well as other building materials under test, let’s start trying to use it, but otherwise this is just another example of a tech idea gone bust.

  2. While I agree regarding your comments about the China villa, there is a credible company based in Italy called Desamanera that has identified specific market niches for 3D technology that make sense as a business opportunity. They have developed a flexible printer that can be tailored to particular applications and developed binder systems and application systems in their equipment that work in real life. I am working with them to explore opportunities in US and Canada and would be interested in discussing the opportunities further. Of course their emphasis at present is around architectural/artistic applications while they do their homework and testing required for the building code.

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