3D Printing

Low-cost 3D-printed shelter being built from clay and straw

The WASP team plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door
The WASP team plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door
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To build the home, WASP went through 2 cubic meters (70 cubic ft) of water and used 200 kWh of electricity
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To build the home, WASP went through 2 cubic meters (70 cubic ft) of water and used 200 kWh of electricity
Including the cost of gasoline, straw, etc, the cost of the shelter so far comes in at just €48
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Including the cost of gasoline, straw, etc, the cost of the shelter so far comes in at just €48
The firm has so far 3D-printed a 270 cm (106 in) high and 5m (16 ft) diameter structure of clay and straw
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The firm has so far 3D-printed a 270 cm (106 in) high and 5m (16 ft) diameter structure of clay and straw
The clay and straw shelter was built in layers, with a total of 135 layers taking 20 minutes each to complete
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The clay and straw shelter was built in layers, with a total of 135 layers taking 20 minutes each to complete
Each layer weighs a hefty 300 kg (661 lb)
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Each layer weighs a hefty 300 kg (661 lb)
The WASP team plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door
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The WASP team plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door
The WASP team now plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door
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The WASP team now plans to extend the shelter to a total of 4 m (13 ft) high, before adding a roof and door

Last year we reported on Big Delta, a massive 3D printer that showed promise as a means of creating cheap housing by using low-cost materials like mud and clay as a building material. The firm behind it, Italy's WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project), appears to be making good on that promise, and has almost completed building a new shelter that's cost just €48 (about US$55) so far.

Right off the bat it's important to note that even when the shelter is successfully completed, it will be very basic indeed, essentially comprising the walls, door, and roof. Still, to people around the world in dire straits, such as refugees or victims of natural disaster, a basic roof over their heads could mean the difference between life and death.

So far, WASP has 3D-printed a 270 cm (106 in) high and 5m (16 ft) diameter structure predominantly made from clay and straw, with some lime used too. The construction process mirrors that of the Dubai office building, involving a huge printer extruding layers of building material, which are slowly built-up into a structure.

Each layer weighs a hefty 300 kg (661 lb)
Each layer weighs a hefty 300 kg (661 lb)

The shelter comprises a total of 135 layers so far, with each one taking 20 minutes to complete. Each layer weighs a hefty 300 kg (660 lb) and WASP says that two people and one 3D-printer setup could build an entire shelter unaided.

WASP went through 2 cubic meters (70 cubic ft) of water and used 200 kWh of electricity. Adding these, plus the cost of gasoline, straw, etc, it came up with the €48 construction cost, though that doesn't include any payment for workers involved.

Next, WASP will take a week's break from the project, then extend the shelter to a total height of 4 m (13 ft), before adding a roof and door. It's still early days in the project, and the team intends to experiment with different materials and techniques once the first shelter is built.

Source: WASP

5 comments
navmed
Good start, I guess. But it would be more useful with a door and roof.
Bob Flint
The raw materials are cheap, but what is the real cost for the rig, transportation, insurance,set-up, labor, etc...also over a week to build is way too long, the people really needing a shelter will still build by hand formed rectangular bricks way faster...
Koolski
The 48 euro cost is materials only. They mentioned labor; what about use of the printer and transportation to and from the site? The end price will be considerably higher.
RobbLee
Was wondering about the structure of the walls and the strength of the structure. Is rebar being added?
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Reminds me of an old kids' song: "The rains came down and the floods came up..." The foolish man builds his house out of the mud... Cool tech. Use cement. (And re-bar, as mentioned by RobbLee. ☺)