U.S. man 3D prints mini castle, sets sights on printing livable house
3D castle printed by Andrey Rudenko in Shorewood, Minnesota as seen at the end of August 2014. The castle is about 3.5 metres high. (Credit: Andrey Rudenko)
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014 7:51PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:31PM EDT
People have used 3D printers to print everything from medical devices to guns. But one Minnesota man is hoping to take this new technology to the next level and print a house.
Andrey Rudenko, of Shorewood, Min., plans for the house to be about 10 metres by 20 metres. If it is two storeys, it will be about 3,600 square feet.
And he is hoping to print the entire house in about a week. It would be the first time a house like this has ever been built in North America.
"I would be happy to live in this house," Andrey Rudenko told CTVNews.ca.
The 40-year-old contractor, with a background in engineering and design, first became interested in 3D printing technology a couple years ago. He started printing small objects and then last week, his two-year-long journey culminated with the completion of 3.5-metre high castle.
He uses what he describes as fine concrete that is a custom mixture, and he printed the castle layer by layer.
"I have my own recipe for the mix," he said. "Regular concrete just won't work at all."
Even though concrete has been used as a building material for thousands of years, it took a lot of research and experimentation for the material to be used when pouring at slow speeds and with precision.
The printers Rudenko uses are also custom-made. He said he now has two printers, including one the size of the house he hopes to build. It will be assembled to be a bit larger than the house, but has rails so it can be extended if a client wants a larger home.
Rudenko needed a project to test out the large printer and the custom mix. So after printing some blocks, he got creative and decided to build the castle. He planned to print it in a week or two, but the process dragged on due to rain and zoning permits.
In the end, it took a couple months to print. And there was one problem -- Rudenko printed it in pieces and the concrete was very heavy, so he had seven friends help him lift sections on top of other sections.
He's learned from that mistake and plans to print the entire house on location. The printer is large enough to print one storey and then it will be raised up on blocks to print the second storey.
Rudenko said the castle attracted a lot of attention in the neighbourhood with people coming by to take pictures -- although not many kids came by to play in it. He has received numerous calls from people who want their own castle, however a functional house is his main goal.
He has sunk a lot of his own money into developing the printer and is looking for a client to commission the house. Rudenko will transport the printer anywhere in the world and print the walls of the house on-site. It will be designed with channels in the walls for plumbing and electrical.
As forthe technology, Rudenko said he could see 3D printing having a huge impact on the construction business, and may become the norm for home construction.
“I believe in 10 or 15 years, this may be 30 per cent of construction."