The exterior of a 3D printed villa built by the Shanghai company. Photo: Yang Hui/GT
The interior of a 3D printed house. Photo: Yang Hui/GT
Freshly-printed walls waiting to be turned into a building. Photo: Yang Hui/GT
A cleaner washing the basin in the bathroom. The basin was also 3D printed. Photo: Yang Hui/GT
Buildings appearing overnight and being created by huge machines is no longer science fiction.
A Shanghai-based construction company is now one step ahead in the global race to build some of the world's first 3D printed houses.
So far, Yingchuang Construction Technique has built over a dozen 3D printed houses, including a villa and the world's tallest 3D printed building - a five-story apartment building.
The company uses four 3D printers, that are 6.6 meters tall and almost as wide and long as a basketball court, to print walls layer by layer, one by one. The "ink" used is a fine mixture of cement and construction waste which is environmentally-friendly and cost-effective. The company said the walls they build are even stronger than normal concrete walls.
Visitors can check out their 1,100-square-meter villa in the Suzhou Industrial Park, Jiangsu Province. The company took a week to print and assemble the villa, moving much faster than if they used traditional construction methods which would have taken one to three months. The company is now decorating the interior of the apartment building.
The company's four printers are able to print 10 200-square-meter houses within 24 hours. The company refused media requests to show their printers in action, saying that it's a business secret.
3D printing technology can save between 30 and 60 percent in building materials and shorten production times by 50 to even 70 percent, while decreasing labor costs by 50 to 80 percent, the company claims.
So far, it has already received orders from several countries, including Egypt. It's also working with Dubai to build the world's first 3D printed office building.