THE WORLD’S largest 3D printer is set to start printing a two-storey house on the site of Kamp C, the provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in Westerlo, Belgium.
The C3PO-project, aims to revolutionise future construction projects by introducing a concrete printer that has the ability to build new homes from scratch. Kai Van Bulck, Marketing and Innovation Manager at Kamp C said: “While 3D printing is harvesting a lot of attention worldwide, the first 3D printed home is still some way off. That said, this technique is gradually gaining momentum and we believe that this concrete printer could play a crucial role in future innovations for the construction industry.”
Trial and error
Five years ago, several Belgian universities launched research projects that focused on building components via 3D printing. The research collected led to the current test period at the Kamp C site. Kai said, “We’re putting the university research to the test with our 3D printer. Our main priority is to overcome all the technical challenges associated with the 3D technique through trial and error.”
The main challenge arising from the printer is the lack of materials it is able to work with. The Kamp C printer is suited to printing with concrete building components however, researchers are working to find the best compositions to ensure the printing process is as efficient as possible.
Kamp C has decided to start with a ‘demo’ phase with all interested companies, research and education institutions invited to test the printer this autumn. The company hopes that the tests will help resolve a number of small technical issues.
Convincing the industry
Companies are invited to experiment with the printer until the demo phase ends next year.
Kai believes the printer could add value to construction businesses around the world: “The printer has the potential to create vaulted ceilings and curved walls off-site saving building contractors time and money. We expect that the construction industry will change tack as soon as we can demonstrate the components that can be printed and the benefits it can provide.”