Dutch university unveils colossal concrete printer

The Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e) has unveiled a "kingsize" 3D concrete printer that is capable of creating objects 11m long, 5m wide and 4m high.

This scale of output will enable the printer to produce entire walls, complete with extra features that are hard to obtain using conventional formwork. It can also produce objects as small as a pea.

The printer resembles an overhead hoisting crane with a jointed nozzle to spray the concrete. It is attached to a hose which leads to a pump and concrete mixing unit.

Image by Rien Meulman/TU/e

According to the university, the printer will be able to produce many qualities and colours of concrete. The website says "A complete wall can be printed with every requisite functionality: fibre-reinforced concrete to make it strong, an active insulation layer to retain heat, dirt-repelling concrete on the outside to keep it clean and a layer on the inside that enhances the acoustics."

The prototype, the first of its kind and dimensions in the Netherlands, was built by Dutch company Rohaco. Besides the university, 10 companies have contributed to the project’s $720,000 costs.

Although the TU/e printer is large it is not as big as the 12m Italian machine that can create houses out of dirt.

The university will be working with the Dutch building industry to develop knowledge over the course of a number of years to print pioneering and easily recyclable concrete products.

Image by Rien Meulman/TU/e

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