One of the most fascinating companies that we have covered over the past year has been a company called WASP, which stands for “World’s Advanced Saving Project”. We have reported in the past, that they have an ultimate goal of 3D printing housing structures in developing nations. This is actually pretty old news, which dates back to July of last year. However, today WASP has informed 3DPrint.com of some new developments in the progress of the project.
This week, from today through March 21st, WASP will be on hand at the MADEexpo in Milan, Italy, debuting their new rotating extruder being put to use on their 4-meter tall delta 3D printer. It is the first time that the rotating nozzle, which was just unveiled two weeks ago, is being publicly displayed in use on this prototype 3D printer. The 4-meter tall prototype printer is a working scaled down model of the 12-meter tall version which the company is currently working on. At the event, this 3D printer will be printing several different structures using different types of cement mixtures.
One of these mixture, is one that the company believes will play a major role in the 3D printing of houses. It is a mixture that includes seeds from certain weeds, mixed in with a cement/clay material. The seeds are intended to absorb the clay’s moisture and then grow and develop their root systems into the 3D printed structure. This will add great strength to the material, helping the structures maintain their form for years to come.
“The habitative structure will thus become a sustainable habitat,” WASP tells 3DPrint.com. “The use of the seeds will offer a practical solution to the issue of clay shrinking: the reinforcements produced by the roots will set the material in a more permanent way, thus allowing for it to fully dry without altering its dimensional stability.”
Currently WASP is experimenting with plants such as Bermuda grass, which is one of the most infesting plant types to man. WASP plans to select plant types according to the type of climate that they are 3D printing their houses in. This is to ensure the best growth and sturctural support possible.
“WASP’s research quite literally, takes place ‘on the field’. This idea of ‘armoring the houses from the inside’ using roots, is certainly as innovative as it is imaginative: it will require a long and intense work from the team of botanical, architectural and 3D printing experts that have already began developing the first concepts,” we are told.
This should be very interesting to keep an eye on, as it is the first we have ever heard of a 3D printing technique that uses both native clays as well as seeds for plants in order to print out large structures. If successful, WASP may have found a solution for creating affordable housing all around the world.
“3D printing is a technology that offers several advantages,” Massimo Moretti, WASP founder explains. “Implementing it with old and polluting materials such as traditional cement could lead to an exponential degeneration: tens of houses could be built in just one day and the potential of 3D printing could be exploited for speculative ends.”
What do you think about the potential of 3D printing with this new mixture? Will it prove to be the best method for printing large structures made of cement-like mixtures? Discuss in the WASP to 3D Print Houses in Developming Nations forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.