Over in Holland, 3D printing is being put to the test to see if it’s a suitable and beneficial medium for building houses. At a first look, the benefits are many. No waste, decreased costs for transport and far more environmentally friendly than many other methods (unless you are considering using adobe).

3D printing makes building more environmentally friendly

Dus Architects started this project with the understanding that the traditional building industry is far from environmentally friendly. It’s full of pollution and most materials cannot be recycled. If Dus have their way, then we could soon see entire cities being built with this revolutionary new method.

If you’re wondering what the form of the structure of the building is, here’s an example. A single piece of plastic is produced by an oversized 3D printer. It weighs 180kg and makes up a 3m high corner. Many of these types of building blocks will be stacked up on each other just as a Lego brick house would be built. After three years this first house building project will be completed in the style of a traditional Dutch gabled canal house with 13 rooms. Each brick will be hand laid and designed by computer software.

3d printed house Amsterdam


Lego houses on a larger scale

In order to produce these blocks, a home 3D printer that has been scaled up to print building blocks of up to 2m x 2m x 3.5m high. This printer was developed by Dutch firm Ultimaker and produces samples that remarkably look like they have been carefully hand-made. Some parts look a little like clumps of black spaghetti made from plastic. The mix used for the blocks is bio plastic created from 75% plant oil with microfibers for reinforcement. A blend that is usually applied as an industrial adhesive.

3D printing of different materials being tested

Testing of different blends and mixes continue on the pioneering project, with trials on wood fibre mixed with translucent plastic that can be sawn and sanded. By using two nozzles, they hope to build the structure and the insulation concurrently.

To find out more about this project visit Dus Architects 3D house information page.