The Onsite Printed House Arrives

THE ONSITE PRINTED HOUSE ARRIVES

24 March 2017

An American company claims to be the first to have printed (yes, printed!) a house onsite, using mobile 3D printing technology, as opposed to buildings being assembled from pre-printed panels, which has happened previously.  The house is definitely modest in size, at 38m2, and is an odd shape, though the builders said they chose that to demonstrate the flexibility of their equipment, and it looks as if you’d be dossing on the sofa because we can’t find a bedroom, but it was constructed in just 24 hours and had a total finished cost of only around £8,000, not counting any land cost.  It’s in Stupino town in Moscow region, Russia, so it won’t need an EPC, but how long before we see this technology in use on UK building sites?  The house was built by the Apis Cor and PIK companies, and this is their account of the project.

HOW IT WAS BUILT

In December 2016, the Apis Cor company in cooperation with PIK proceeded to print the building using a mobile 3D printer. Construction took place at the Apis Cor company’s test facility in the town of Stupino, on the territory of the Stupino aerated concrete factory. Printing of self-bearing walls, partitions and building envelope were done in less than a day: pure machine time of printing amounted to 24 hours.

After completing the wall structures, the printer was removed from the building with a crane-manipulator.

The area of the printed building is 38 m².  It was the first time that a house was assembled as a whole rather than assembled from pre-printed panels.

Design of the single-story residential house is rather unusual. This project was selected specifically, as one of the main purposes of this construction is to demonstrate the flexibility of equipment and diversity of available forms. The house can be of any shape, including the familiar square shape, because the additive technology has no restrictions on design of new buildings, except for the laws of physics. It means it’s time to talk about the new fantastic potential of architectural solutions.

The house was erected at the coldest time of the year. Winter has added complexity to the project participants, as the use of concrete mixture, that is used as the printing ‘ink’ is only possible at temperatures above 5° C, although, the equipment itself is able to operate in temperatures down to minus 35° C. The problem was solved by setting up a tent which provided the required temperature.  Soon, using new materials, such as geopolymer, you will be able to print a house at any time of the year.

Soon, using new materials, such as geopolymer, you will be able to print a house at any time of the year.

WHO HELPED

The developer of the unique equipment, Apis Cor, approached the matter of erecting the house throughly and invited five companies as partners, known for their innovative approaches.

PIK COMPANIES GROUP

The leading Russian public developer. Included in the list of strategic enterprises of the Russian economy.

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD

One of the largest manufacturers of high-tech components, telecommunications equipment, household appliances, audio and video equipment. The company changes traditional ideas of TVs, smart phones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, household appliances, medical devices, network systems, semiconductors and LED solutions.

Specially for the demonstration house in Stupino, Samsung Electronics Corporation provided high-tech appliances, including a TV set with the same radius of curvature as a curved wall in the house.

TECHNONICOL CORPORATION

One of the largest international manufacturers of reliable and efficient building materials. Operating in the market since the year 1992, the company has gained significant experience in the manufacture of roofing materials, hydro-acoustic and thermal insulation, as well as solutions for the transportation and road construction. TechnoNICOL offers the latest products and technologies on market, combining global experience and developments of their own research centers. Cooperation with design institutes and architectural workshops enable the corporation to flexibly and quickly respond to changes in consumer needs.

For this project TechnoNICOL Corporation has developed innovative solutions in the field of insulation of building structures that allows to maximize the benefits of 3D printing and can later become an integral part of the 3D construction. They are notable for technical efficiency and assembly speed, suitability for non-standard architectural designs and high performance. In the future these processes, most likely, will be automated.

BITEX REIBEPUTZ COMPANY

A German company, which, for more than 50 years, has been leading a traditional family business in the field of development, production and marketing of paint and reinforcement materials for finishing the building. For many years the company has accumulated vast professional experience and is a reliable partner for trade construction networks, architects and building companies.

«FABRIKA OKON» COMPANY

Manufacturer of innovative thermo-windows with climate control.

Six companies have joined together to implement the project and demonstrate how successful could a symbiosis of high technologies be. All companies participating in the construction of the house in Stupino are open to the technologies of the future and are willing to change people’s lives for the better. Project participants agree: the great history of house printing begins.

THE TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIALS USED

CONSTRUCTION

Construction is based on Apis Cor 3D printing technology — a unique equipment, which has no analogues in the world today: mobile construction 3D printer and automatic mix and supply unit.

A distinctive feature of the printer is its design, which is reminiscent of the tower crane, allowing the printer to execute the printing process of constructing the building both inside and outside.

The printer has a small size, easily transportable and does not require long preparation before the commencement of the construction works because it has a built-in automatic horizon alignment and stabilization system.

The printing process is automated as much as possible and almost eliminates the risk of human error.

The printer has a small size, is easily transportable and does not require long preparation before the commencement of the construction works because it has a built-in automatic horizon alignment and stabilization system.  The printing process is automated as much as possible and almost eliminates the risk of human error.

Developer engineer of the equipment is Nikita Chen-iun-tai, founder and CEO of Apis Cor company.

INSULATION

Insulation system in the printed house was done using innovative materials from TechnoNICOL company

ROOF

The roof of the house in Stupino, in accordance with the architectural project, is flat. The solution proposed by the TechnoNICOL company can effectively withstand high snow loads and durability requirements. Its cost is comparable with steep roofs, which are common for our country.

The roofing carpet is made of LOGICROOF polymer membranes. The material has high performance and technological installation. Membrane patches are welded together with special equipment using hot air. Installation works at speeds of up to 1000 m² in a work shift can be done in any weather conditions.

As a heat-insulation layer we applied solid plates on the basis of LOGICPIR hard polystyrene. Due to low thermal conductivity of the material (0.022 w/sq.m), thickness and total weight of the roofing system is much smaller than traditional insulation materials.

A special insulation PIR Slope was used during flat roof installation. It is a ready-made modular system to create the right main and rear slopes. Because of this, precipitation will be effectively removed from the surface of the roof. Polymer membrane LOGICROOF and insulation LOGICPIR have a combustibility class G1 which provides high fire safety.

OVERLAPPINGS

As overlap insulation we used rock wool ROKLIGHT thermo-acoustic insulating material.

Apis Cor construction 3D printing technology adapted for different methods of printed walls thermal insulation. Specially for the project in Stupino, TechnoNICOL corporation chose two innovative ways of insulation: solid insulating material LOGICPIR for one part of the house and liquid polyurethane composition for the other. Technology does not require fixtures and fills all voids in the space between the bearing wall and outer concrete structure, avoids the formation of cold bridges.

Selected materials are among the ones with the lowest thermal conductivity coefficient. Coefficient of heat conductivity of PIR crumbs −0.022 w/m * k, fill insulation from polyurethane foam- 0.023-0, 025 w/m * k (roughly 25-30% more efficient in comparison with standard thermal insulation materials and 100% more efficient than wood).

Thanks to these properties, to create a comfortable microclimate in the house, quite a small layer is enough. That allows to greatly simplify the structure. In the future, with improved equipment, insulation of structures can be carried out in parallel with their printing. That will significantly reduce the construction time.

FINISHING

For the printed walls finishing we additionally used a mineral decorative plaster Reibeputz — KOROED from the manufacturer BITEX. The material has high adhesion and vapor permeability, excellent for internal and external finishing works.

The composition of mineral plaster consists of white cement and ball-shaped marble and granite crumbs, so it can serve as an additional heat insulation and goes well with the thermal insulation systems: can act as a top layer, especially if the insulation used is mineral wool. Performs the function of a thin-layer decorative plasters on walls that do not require insulation. Easy to use and work with. Possesses good hydrophobic properties.

For painting of the entire building in a corporate yellow colour we used high-quality exterior paint from BITEX Egalisationsfarbe manufacturer. Paint is easy to apply and easily fills the roughness, after drying up it forms a solid matte surface without cracks, is eco-friendly and resistant to weather conditions.

WINDOWS

In the house we installed double windows provided by the partner company «Fabrika Okon», which develops innovative windows with climate control.

Configuration

 Width — 76 mm

 Number of chambers — 6

 Soundproofing — Class 4

 Frost resistance — up to −60 C

 Product life — >50 Years

 Anti break-in system

 Inbuilt climate control system

Instead of regular glass these windows use 2 low emission glass panes (which cost the same as regular ones) which allows the manufacturers to significantly improve the technical characteristics of windows and reach record values of insulation, light permeability and heat rays protection at the same time.

THE RESULT

On the inside the printed house is no different from an ordinary one — cosy and comfortable.

House interior includes a hall, a bathroom, a living room and a compact functional kitchen with the most modern appliances from Samsung company.

To illustrate how 3D printing solves the issue of embedding home appliances and electronics of various formats, a premium Samsung SUHD TV, JS9500 with diagonal of 78 Inches was installed in the house. An interesting fact is that the radius of curvature of the TV matches the house wall curvature.

The kitchen is furnished with the most modern appliances: RB41J785S4 Samsung refrigerator with No Frost system, NZ64H5747K induction stove, DW50K4050BB dishwashing machine, NV75J5540RS electrical oven, MG23K3513AK microwave oven.

The house also has an innovative Samsung AddWash WW70K62E69 washing machine installed. Thanks to an additional door it’s possible to add forgotten clothes or conditioner during the washing cycle without opening the main door or draining the water. And by installing a special app you can manage the washing process remotely via smartphone.

THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION

The construction cost of the printed house amounted to $10134 (£8126), which is approximately $275 (£220) per square meter, taking in account that partners have provided the highest quality materials, and the building itself has an extraordinary shape.

This cost includes all the works that were done to make a complete house: work and materials for the construction of foundation, roof, exterior and interior finishing works, installation of heat insulation of walls, windows, floors and ceilings.

A square house made using materials of an average price category would be even cheaper ≈ $223 (£179) per square meter.

Foundation                     $277

Walls                             $1624

Floor and roof                 $2434

Wiring                            $242

Windows and doors          $3548

Exterior finishing              $831

Interior finishing
(incl. suspended ceiling)    $1178

TOTAL                                 $10134

WHAT WERE THE SAVINGS COMPARED TO CONVENTIONAL CONSTRUCTION

As the printer prints self-bearing walls and partitions, it allows builders to save up to 70% on erecting buildings compared to traditional construction techniques, such as with a block method, because each block has to has to be put in place, cut to size and aligned. Also there is the necessity to bring the required equipment and tools to the construction site, replace them after breakage, unload materials, oversee the builders. Often there is a risk of human error, and completion of a standard cottage house on average can take up to two months.

The total size of the construction savings can’t be hard fixed, since it does not depend only on the work of the 3D printer, which is not involved in other construction works. Desires and imagination of the building owners will influence the choice of materials for furnishing, insulation, engineering and, consequently, the total price. But the savings on your building walls will always be the same.

As you can see, with the advent of new technology, construction 3D printing is changing the view and approach to the construction of low-rise buildings and provides new opportunities to implement custom architectural solutions. The project, implemented by Apis Cor and PIK companies in Stupino, demonstrated the benefits of applying new technologies in practice.

Now we can say with confidence that with Apis Cor solution, the construction 3D printing has leapt to a new evolutionary stage. The Apis Cor company and its partners are confident that the house in Stupino was the first step that can convince the world that 3D technology in the construction market is a reality.

The company’s video about the construction of the house can be found at https://youtu.be/xktwDfasPGQ