Have you ever dreamed of designing a house on your computer and then simply have it appear right before your eyes in no time? Well, dream no more, because, thanks to modern 3D printing technologies, this wish is no longer a matter of the distant future. Say hello to WASP!
WASP is short for World’s Advanced Saving Project, and it was founded in 2012 in order to enforce the sustainable development of 3D printing technologies. Its research is ultimately aimed at developing a fully functioning printer, which is capable of building clay houses at incredibly low cost. Its latest prototype is about 12 metres high and about half as wide. It consists of a basic metal structure with an extruder, with which it builds the desired model, typically from clay, layer by layer. It might not yet be able to produce the whole building in one go, but, with the help of natural additives, it is already able to construct a basic structure, which is able to withstand natural forces, whilst still being biologically decomposable once it is no longer needed
According to the UN, about three billion people, especially in poorer regions on the planet, will need housing by 2030, and this project seems just the thing to solve this problem. Earth, the main resource required by this printer, is one of the cheapest materials available, and the speed at which it is able to put up a house exceeds that of conventional building methods by far. Furthermore, since the machine needs to be portable and ideally should work in areas with no electricity nearby, it can be assembled by three people in about an hour and it can even be powered with just a couple of square metres of solar panels!
The prototype of this printer has already been tested in the field, at the “Reality of Dreams” event from 18th – 20th September 2015. It seems to have made quite an impact as well, since it was featured on many popular websites, such as “wired.co.uk” and “3ders.org”. Who knows, maybe our children will already 3D-print their houses, once they settle down. Even if they do not, this project certainly seems like something worth keeping an eye on.
Student at Technikum Wien University