An Italian engineering company is attempting to 3D-print a basic house, with their end goal being to provide a solution to housing and shelter problems in crisis-stricken areas.
World's Advanced Saving Project (Wasp) created their 12-metre tall, six-metre wide 3D printer as part of a 3D printing event in Massa Lombarda, a small municipality in the north of Italy.
The machine works in exactly the same way as a regular 3D printer. The huge metal frame supporters a nozzle linked to a computer, which dispenses clay in a pre-defined pattern.
As the nozzle moves round and round and adds layers to the structure, a functioning shelter can be created quickly and easily.
The machine, named the BigDelta, could potentially be used in disaster-stricken areas or in developing countries, where solid and long-lasting shelter is needed, rather than just a tent or prefabricated structure.
The people behind Wasp also see themselves as members of the 'maker economy' - a new economic model that moves the production of goods from the hands of a few to everyone, using technology.
The use of 3D printing technology in construction has been used before - in Amsterdam, Dus Architects are currently attempting to build a completely 3D printed canal house.
Both examples are experimental projects, but in the future we could see this sort of technology being used in construction much more.
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