3D Printing

3D-printed castle heralds future of click-and-print architecture

Andrey Rudenko's 3D-printed castle
Andrey Rudenko's 3D-printed castle
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Andrey Rudenko created the small concrete "castle" using a large 3D printer he built himself
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Andrey Rudenko created the small concrete "castle" using a large 3D printer he built himself
The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish, as the printer pushed out strips of 10 x 30 mm (0.4 x 1.1 in) concrete, which were then layered atop each other
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The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish, as the printer pushed out strips of 10 x 30 mm (0.4 x 1.1 in) concrete, which were then layered atop each other
With a printing rate of 50 cm (19.6 in) per 8 hours, the castle could be created in a matter of days
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With a printing rate of 50 cm (19.6 in) per 8 hours, the castle could be created in a matter of days
The main body of the castle, which measures 3 x 5 m (10 x 16 ft) and 3.5 m (12 ft) high, was printed as one unit
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The main body of the castle, which measures 3 x 5 m (10 x 16 ft) and 3.5 m (12 ft) high, was printed as one unit
The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish
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The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish
The turrets were printed separately
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The turrets were printed separately
Rudenko's next project is to create a 3D-printed home, which he told us he plans on printing in one piece
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Rudenko's next project is to create a 3D-printed home, which he told us he plans on printing in one piece
Rudenko had to overcome issues like clogging
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Rudenko had to overcome issues like clogging
"The more important advances of this technology lie in its architectural possibilities and energy-efficiency," Rudenko told Gizmag
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"The more important advances of this technology lie in its architectural possibilities and energy-efficiency," Rudenko told Gizmag
Andrey Rudenko created the small concrete "castle" using a large 3D printer he built himself
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Andrey Rudenko created the small concrete "castle" using a large 3D printer he built himself
Andrey Rudenko's 3D-printed castle
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Andrey Rudenko's 3D-printed castle
The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish, as the printer pushed out strips of 10 x 30 mm (0.4 x 1.1 in) concrete, which were then layered atop each other
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The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish, as the printer pushed out strips of 10 x 30 mm (0.4 x 1.1 in) concrete, which were then layered atop each other

Though 3D printing technology is still relatively new, it may become an important tool for architects and the construction industry, as highlighted by projects like the recent 3D-printing of 10 homes in a day. The latest example of this progress comes via US-based Andrey Rudenko, who has created a small concrete "castle" structure in his backyard using a large 3D printer he built himself. Next up, he's making a house.

From small beginnings ...

The 3D-printed castle is 2 years in the making, and began with Rudenko first fabricating a small 3D printer which printed using plastic. It took some time before he scaled-up to a much larger unit that could print in concrete reliably, but once Rudenko had solved issues like clogging, he was good to go.

"In short, the printer is a 3D concrete-extruding machine which pushes/extrudes and layers concrete in very fine, high-quality layers of almost any size and configuration," explains Rudenko. "The machine is controlled by computer using the Arduino Mega 2560 micro-controller board; it prints directly from CAD files using a chain of software tools to control printing."

The turrets were printed separately
The turrets were printed separately

The castle took a total of 2 months to print from start to finish. The 3D printer pushed out strips of 10 x 30 mm (0.4 x 1.1 in) concrete, which were then layered atop each other. However, with a printing rate of 50 cm (19.6 in) per 8 hours, it could have been built much quicker had Rudenko not taken his time tweaking the printer's settings, testing its abilities, and ensuring that the quality was good.

The main body of the castle, which measures 3 x 5 m (10 x 16 ft) and 3.5 m (12 ft) high, was printed as one unit, while the turrets were then printed separately. Looking to the future

Rudenko's next project is to create a 3D-printed two-story home, which he told us he plans on printing in one piece, including the fireplace, kitchen island, and foundation for the staircase, plus columns, interior walls, and more.

"The next project is a real full-scale house. The size of the house will be defined with architects, but the printer should be able to print 10 x 20 m (32 x 65 ft), or more if the rails are extended," explains Rudenko. "I presume that with the rails extended, I could print up to 50-100 m (164 - 328 ft) long, but I have to experiment to prove it. The first house is going to be an experimental house.

"Hopefully, architects will come up with the some unique design for the house. The printer gives high quality layers that enhance the look of any building, so I am sure people will like it. The main issue is to get a permit for non-traditional method of construction. Ideally, I’d like to team with architects who take care of the construction project’s essentials, general contractor and project’s sponsor. Then, my focus will be on delivering high quality 3D printing of the house’s walls.

"The more important advances of this technology lie in its architectural possibilities and energy-efficiency. Architects have waited many years for this technology, and now that it's here, this opens up a whole window of possibilities; soon, we will see new kinds of architecture used to construct new structures."

Source: Andrey Rudenko

7 comments
Malatrope
Two words: building codes. Concrete structures require reinforcing steel. While you can probably lay some of these in by hand, you'll have to reprogram your extruder paths to work around the vertical bars (that in most areas are required to be no more than 24" apart). This will be a viable technology to build houses once you've designed end effectors for your gantry system that can automatically place rebar, plumbing, and electrical conduit.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is way cool. It would be neat to see it used to print a small house or small structure. Perhaps if the the material is still soft when first 'poured', one could add vertical support?
harry_72
Malatrope, maybe they could reinforce it by laying a continuous wire at the same time, like a MIG welder hand piece delivers wire and gas
Sirmike
50cm in 8 hours?? That is incredibly slow!! Snails are a lot faster than that. I think that there must be a misprint there. 50cm in 8 seconds I could believe.
the.other.will
I would have appreciated pix of the process as well as of the product.
Slowburn
If he can figure out how to get the structure up to code it could make for great wealth. Not all concrete structures need rebar. Roman builders didn't use rebar and some of their concrete bridges are still in use.
Racqia Dvorak
We need rebar for a variety of reasons, but the beauty of 3d printing is that you can utilize unusual mathematical principles in complex hollow structures to create better load bearing qualities. SO, maybe no need for rebar.
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